Traffic > Gridlock

Get used to an empty Rockwell and a very packed EDSA

With the Estrella-Pantaleon Bridge closed for 30 months

No, this is not a file picture of Rockwell Center from Holy Week or Halloween. PHOTO BY FRANK SCHUENGEL

Day 1 of the Rockwell Bridge closure under weekday rush-hour conditions produced quite a sight. There were some winners and loads of losers as traffic had to find alternate routes across the river. We braved the evening traffic to bring you some first impressions of what things were like with the Estrella-Pantaleon Bridge now closed to motor vehicles. All of the images you see here were taken between 6.30pm and 8pm tonight, January 21st.

The biggest winners of the night were without a doubt the residents of Rockwell Center. With cars unable to use the closed bridge, the posh residential area looked like a virtual ghost town. Where normally thousands of vehicles would crawl along in bumper-to-bumper traffic, roads lay eerily empty and residents got to enjoy a quiet evening with greatly reduced noise and air pollution.

Great if you live in the area; horrible if you just happen to work here. It is what it is. PHOTOS BY FRANK SCHUENGEL

Unfortunately, anyone trying to get home via J.P. Rizal or EDSA wasn’t quite as lucky, with increased traffic levels clearly visible. The lower portion of J.P. Rizal seemed extremely slow-moving, with road works in the area making things even worse.

Obviously, most of the displaced traffic from the Rockwell area will just go to EDSA. PHOTOS BY FRANK SCHUENGEL

EDSA appeared unusually busy for what was a pretty uneventful Monday in January, with the extra vehicular volume causing car movement to slow down even further. This seems like a bad omen for the many more months to come, during which commuters have to make do without the Estrella-Pantaleon Bridge.

Even the side streets or secondary roads around the area are bound to overflow now. PHOTOS BY FRANK SCHUENGEL

Based on this first weekday, it appears as if drivers will indeed be in for a rough ride until the new bridge is opened in 2021. We dread to think what a rainy payday Friday would now look like, but we also see this as an opportunity. If you get stressed out by traffic, then now might be the perfect time to park your car and try another method of transportation. Scooter or bicycle, anyone?

Frank Schuengel

Frank is a German e-commerce executive who loves his wife, a Filipina, so much he decided to base himself in Manila. He has interesting thoughts on Philippine motoring. He writes the aptly named ‘Frankly’ column.