If you’ve been around Barangay Kapitolyo recently, you may have noticed some changes at the corner of Shaw Boulevard and West Capitol Drive. With the completion of most of the roadwork in the area, Pasig City is now conducting a dry run of the new signalized intersection, with its full permanent opening scheduled for September 15.
Vehicles traversing Shaw will now have to stop for traffic lights at the new intersection, while those from Capitol Drive and Capitol Commons now have the option of continuing straight through. Left turns are also now permitted, reducing previously lengthy detours into a quick wait at the light. It may seem like a simple change for motorists, but they’re not the primary beneficiary of the upgrade.
Pedestrians coming from Capitol Drive would have had to use a footbridge that snaked along Shaw before turning back on itself well past Starbucks Capitol Commons. Built in 2018, this drew criticism from residents who then had to travel an extra hundred meters and up two flights of stairs just to cross.
The solution? Give back the streets to our vulnerable road users.
The intersection was shrunk by means of concrete islands, reducing the wide, fast curves into straight lanes lending refuge for pedestrians on the at-grade crosswalks. Vehicles turning right on all corners still enjoy slip lanes, but are now forced to slow down and give way to pedestrians crossing on a speed table. Cyclists have the benefit of painted bike lanes to delineate motor-vehicle traffic from their path. This terminates into bright-green Bike Boxes prior to the intersection to give cyclists their own exclusive space to maneuver should they need to turn left. What used to be a hellish journey just to cross the road has now turned into a leisurely, safe stroll.
It’s hard to shake off the notion that cars own the road, given that the majority of our infrastructure benefits drivers at the expense of everyone else. The design of the intersection seems to flip that idea on its head, shifting the priority from moving cars to moving people. The change is very evident to cyclists and pedestrians as the area no longer feels hostile in favor of a much more welcoming and livable space. Infrastructure such as this may feel alien to us at first, but is a definite sign of hopefully more people-centric progress in the future.
Oh, they didn’t even need to put up a tarp with someone’s face on it. Salute.