Everyone loves a great David and Goliath story.
Ayala Land has just announced through Make It Makati that it will be maintaining and enforcing the exclusive bike lanes along Ayala Avenue. This was borne out of protest and discussions from the #MakeItSaferMakati movement that started as a result of Ayala’s original pronouncement of replacing the bike lane with sharrows.
The original notice, posted last February 10, noted that an increase in commuters and PUVs prompted the decision to turn the original exclusive bike lanes into shared sharrow lanes instead. This prompted backlash from the cyclists that ply these routes on a regular basis, pointing out that not only is a sharrow the default state of our roads, but that sharing the space with large coach buses can prove fatal.
The group eventually coalesced into the #MakeItSaferMakati movement, staging protests, solidarity rides, and even a volunteer-run bike count that yielded a whopping 2,407 cyclists along Ayala Avenue during the morning and evening rush hour. Discussions were proposed and held with Ayala, which then decided to postpone the sharrow change, before eventually releasing the decision and joint statement today.
The bike lanes will remain exclusive for cyclists only, with the areas around PUV stops demarcated by road studs and all enforced by the Makati Parking Authority.
Bizarrely enough, that’s still not the best part of the statement. A technical working group would also be formed among Ayala, the movement, and the Makati Business Club to study and implement even more cycling-friendly policies and designs in the future.
It is rather fitting that the statement be released on the eve of one of the most important moments of democracy in our country’s history. We’re glad with the outcome of this protest, and commend Ayala’s response and willingness to listen. We hope that we see more instances of the city we live in being shaped by and for its residents.