Which one is more preferable: getting run over by a vehicle on EDSA or falling off an unbelievably high bridge?
The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) defended yesterday the viral footbridge that it constructed in Kamuning, Quezon City which was lambasted by some netizens for being unsafe. However, the agency admitted that the bridge is not suitable for persons with disabilities or elderly people.
Constructed with a budget of PHP10 million (more than US$189,000), the bridge goes up at a steep angle, has a short flat walkway, then plunges down to connect pedestrians to the other side of the road. It was built over the Manila Metro Rail Transit System or MRT-3.
Netizens already have a fitting nickname for this dizzying infrastructure: “stairway to heaven.”
The bridge looks slightly ridiculous that it deserves to have a meme like this one, shared by actor Chuckie Dreyfus.
In an interview yesterday with CNN Philippines’ show The Source, MMDA’s General Manager Jojo Garcia said only healthy people can use the bridge. He explained that it was built in that area because pedestrians who cross the road run the risk of getting hit by vehicles which traverse EDSA.
“It’s not designed for [people with disabilities] or seniors. This is only designed for healthy [people],” said Garcia.
He also conveniently forgot to mention that pregnant women might also have a hard time climbing the bridge, or people with children. But who cares about them, right?
Garcia stuck to his guns, however. He said in Filipino: “For me, as long as it saves one life, it serves its purpose.”
In a separate interview with radio station DZMM, he said that the bridge had to be built at such a steep incline to avoid the MRT-3’s power lines.
MMDA spokesperson Celine Pialago echoed Garcia’s defense. In an interview with the Philippine Daily Inquirer, she said it was the best compromise that the MMDA could come up with.
She said: “Pedestrians are either too reckless or lazy to look for safe crossing lanes. That’s the best compromise we can come up with instead of allowing them to just cross EDSA. What matters to us is the safety of the public.”
But Pialago seems to miss netizens’ point: that bridge will not serve its purpose if a significant number of people (senior citizens, PWDs, pregnant women, and people with young children) cannot use it.
And if it cannot be used by a lot of pedestrians, what’s the point of constructing it?
But that’s not to say that all Filipinos have been complaining about it.
A man by the name of Jab Add wrote: “There was this woman who was run over by a vehicle there because you have to walk a long way before you can cross to the other side. The MMDA is just helping people and did something. The problem with us is that we complain too much!”
Jun S. Noe has a simple suggestion: pregnant women and PWDs should just not cross EDSA.
He wrote: “Why are most of the comments insisting [the rights of ] regarding (sic) the PWDs and pregnant women? In the first place, that place should not be crossed because: a.) its (sic) a busy road; b.) its (sic) an MRT line.”
He added: “MMDA made an initiative to create a TEMPORARY footbridge for pedestrians to have a TEMPORARY additional option of access going to the other side.”
He also said the footbridge was created for people who keep on jaywalking on EDSA. “They made your so-called st*pid designed footbridge for the safety of some st*pid people who cannot read a simple ‘no jaywalking’ sign. That’s what we are good at. We keep complaining. We don’t understand that the stuff we complain about was caused by other complaints.”
He suggested that PWDs and pregnant women use a proper pedestrian lane.
He said: “For PWDs and Pregnant women, they may use a proper pedestrianl (sic) lane, rather than risking their lives there.”
Bryan Abrero, however, explained that the material, which appears to be steel, also makes it unsafe because it could conduct electricity.
Netizen Linda Rabe couldn’t understand why the government would spend so much money on something that not everyone could use.
Do you think the bridge is fine or a total design failure? Leave a comment below or tweet to us at @CoconutsManila.