Are the lanes on EDSA too wide? The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) seems to think so and is suggesting a they could be shrunk to make room for more.

Under their proposed scheme, new lanes will be added by making the existing lanes narrower. Currently, EDSA has five lanes in both directions that each measure 3.4 meters wide. If the MMDA were to implement the ‘road diet’ scheme, each lane will be reduced to 2.8 meters. This will allow the MMDA to adjust lane markers and road markers to add more lanes.

According to MMDA spokesperson Celine Pialago, this scheme will not require any road construction to be implemented. Instead, the road markers will simply be re-adjusted to make new lanes in both directions. In addition, the MMDA expects that the 'road diet' will add 6,000 more vehicles in both directions to EDSA's current vehicle capacity.

The MMDA also has research to back up this proposal. The new road scheme was studied carefully and was based off a World Resources Institute (WRI) study. Based on the study itself, cities that have lanes that only measure 2.8 meters wide have fewer crash fatalities per 100,000 residents (1.3 – 3.2 fatality rate) compared to cities that make use of wider lanes (6.1 – 11.8 fatality rate per 100,000 residents). Examples of cities that use narrow lanes include Tokyo, Amsterdam, Paris, Berlin, and Toronto

However, road safety advocate, the Automobile Association of the Philippines (AAP) voiced their concerns over the proposed road diet. Augusto Lagman, president of AAP, stated that our lanes are already narrow as it is compared to other countries which could lead to more road accidents.

The study, however, explains that wider lanes tend to encourage drivers to go faster, which also increases the risks of crashes and injuries. Narrower lanes could also help city engineers and developers build wider sidewalks, as well as bike lanes.

Don’t worry, the road diet is still a proposal for the time being. The MMDA have already submitted their proposal to the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and is awaiting approval of the proposed traffic scheme.