Today, after a few weeks of blinking just yellows and reds, the green part of the newly installed traffic lights suddenly came to life. With the presence of traffic policemen at the sidelines, the traffic was carefully put into order. There was a certain excitement in the air as local motorists crossed the intersection, as if for the first time. Most are more than willing to follow the system and it was a sight to see. But it wasn’t exactly a smooth ride and we don’t expect it to be very soon. Today, the traffic was actually a bit worse than in the previous days. There was a good number of motorists who disregarded the stop signal, even with authorities around. It was not a surprise that most of them were riding motorcycles or what locals call “naka-single”. Many were also confused whether they should stop before the pedestrian lanes which were a good 4-5 meters before the actual crossroads, or after. Likewise, we still see some tricycles doing a counter flow on both sides and one even almost hit us (Maybe the driver was also nervous and confused). Adu pay iti natatangken ti ulo da. The people of Urdaneta City must be educated more in this area and we know that it will take some time.
But let’s not blame all that on the traffic lights. They are there to direct traffic, not to discipline our citizens. That job is probably for the city government and police force to undertake. A few posters and streamers won’t hurt.
So we have traffic lights now.
No, it is not such a big deal if you are from a big city. But for those who remember Urdaneta when it was still a sleepy town, it is. Once dominated by tricycles, Urdaneta now boasts six lanes on its share of McArthur Highway with two of its busiest intersections equipped with these modern traffic lights. Vehicles of all shapes and sizes now ply its roads. Motorcycles, cars, SUVs, provincial busses, trucks, you name it. Every now and then a Porsche or Ferrari can be spotted, probably from Manila on its way to Baguio or Ilocos, careful not to be grazed by one of the rusty kuligligs chugging along.