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Intersection inspection: Galo-Lacson

The intersection of Lacson and Galo streets in the City of Smiles has been one of the more confusing ones over the past few weeks.

There was a time when a barrier was put up at the middle of the intersection, preventing vehicles traveling along Galo from crossing the main thoroughfare and any left turns. This is common sense solution for such a busy intersection, so I took note of it and decided to make adjustments to my daily route that takes me through that area.

However, after just a few days, the barrier was moved, opening the intersection and allowing crossings. The new positioning of the barriers gave the impression that left turns were probably not allowed but of course, without any signs, it was just a suggestion. I don’t turn left there, but normally cross Lacson street while along Galo, so I thanked my lucky stars and readjusted my daily route once more.

Then after another few days, a sign was placed, indicating that no left turns are available for vehicles at that intersection, whether from Lacson or Galo streets. The barriers were still there but at least it was now clearer what they were intended to prevent.

Over the next few weeks, the barrier and the no-left-turn sign came and went at that intersection, so for sign-abiding schmucks like me, it was a roll of the dice on what was allowed at that intersection. If southbound me intended to turn left into Galo from Lacson, I would need to turn right at Burgos so I could properly cross Galo-Lacson. But if the sign weren’t there, the detour would be unnecessary. If the barrier were in the middle of the intersection, preventing crossings, my detour would have to start at Burgos and end at Rizal street where a traffic light officially allows left turns so I could go back to Galo.

To be honest, the easiest solution for this confusing state of affairs would be to ignore the traffic suggestions and just turn left whenever I pleased, which was what a lot of vehicles were regularly still doing at that intersection, especially during the earlier and less busy hours of the day that I usually pass by.

Anyway, the current state of the Galo-Lacson intersection, as I write this, is the presence of a no left turn sign from Galo to Lacson. You may choose to obey it or not when there are no traffic enforcers present, but if they are around, we will have to assume that there will either be a scolding or a fine. Or, if you are a fortunate fellow, they might just look the other way whatever you did didn’t cause that much traffic and inconvenience to others anyway. After all, aren’t signs and rules are merely suggestions in this country?

I write about my struggles with understanding Galo-Lacson because as a part of my daily route, I have seen its changing moods over the past couple of months. As a result, its fickleness as a major intersection of the city has made me wonder if other intersections are also as confusing.

If you come to think of it, there is a good chance that my favorite intersection is simply uniquely confusing due to its strategic location and maybe the rest either have traffic lights or aren’t bound by rules or signs. I guess we should be glad that at least there are attempts to impose order and discipline on that particular intersection, and maybe once the traffic people get a feel for the right thing to do there, the confusion will die down and we can solidify our routes.

Speaking of Galo-Lacson, since has apparently caught the eye of the BTAO of late, I have also been wondering when the city or barangay will do anything about the 3 permanently parked (or is it junked) cars along Galo Street, just before that intersection. These illegally parked vehicles that are occupying public property and causing unnecessary traffic should’ve been noticed by observant traffic officials long ago as they’ve been there for months, but I guess they need a spy who passes by the area every day to point it out.

Additionally, while we are ruminating over that area, why do traffic officials allow parking and even a de facto trisikad terminal right at the corner of Galo and Lacson? Whenever there is a major traffic snarl in that area, it is usually because the corner is blocked by multiple obstructions that should never be there in the first place. I know that Filipinos are too lazy to walk further than the corner to park or grab a trisikad, but it is ridiculous how our government doesn’t do anything about such bad habits.*

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