Sidewalks are for pedestrians if the sidewalks are clear of vendors.
In Novaliches Bayan where I am a frequent passer-by, it’s hard for me to not walk along the road where the vehicles also pass by. This is because the designated sidewalks which are about 2-meter wide are used as selling booths by sellers of assorted products. You can name it, from vegetables to RTW and kitchen things, you have it! Some are extension of the legitimate shop by the sidewalk, while some are just laid there through moveable tables and stacking stands. The products occupy 0.5 to 1 meter of the space, then if you add the buyers which occupy about 0.5 m more, then pedestrians are left with just a foot or two wide space to pass through. And it is supposed to be a two-way sidewalk!
Now there are two types of inconvenience that you can experience.
First is you can’t pass through conveniently if you are just passing by towards wherever you are bound. You can’t walk straight as you have to get the space in between people or you’ll have to walk slowly or with little pauses if the person in front of you can’t get through too or if they suddenly stopped by one of the stalls to buy something. This scenario is worsened all the more if it’s raining. The make-shift awnings in the form of dilapidated GI sheets or at times tarpaulins would redirect the rainwater to wherever gravity would pull it to-at times towards your head or in the middle of the sidewalk. Add the drippings from other passers-by’s umbrellas, you are sure to receive a splash.
The second scenario is if you are a buyer, which I am at times! Okay yes it’s convenient to have the market spread out in a linear form so I can pick all I want for our meals by just walking past them. But I have to do it hastily as I know there’d always be somebody behind me waiting for their turn to either buy or pass by the pathway that I am currently blocking.
I’ve been in the area for just over two years and I really don’t know about the history. All I know is that this place is a passing point of a lot of people from a lot of places to reach their various destinations. There are lots of terminals for tricycles, busses, jeepneys and UV Express, but the roads are just two-way for the heavy foot and vehicle traffic. It’s like the place didn’t see it coming.
I think it’s good to do an overhaul of the place. Widen the roads, make the marketplace a multi-story haven for shoppers, and then implement the proper use of the sidewalks.
I know had it been easy then the local government must have already improved the area by now. But it did not.
So I’ll just make it a point that sidewalks are for pedestrians if sidewalks are clear of vendors.