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MMDA awaits shopping mall operators’ decision over ‘open, close late’ policy

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By Anna Liza Villas-Alavaren 

The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) has yet to wait for the decision of the shopping mall operators on its request to maintain the “open late, close late” operating hours even if holidays are over.

Roy Taguinod, MMDA Traffic Discipline Office head, said the mall operators have appealed for more time to think over the agency’s request to maintain the 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. operating hours from the regular 10 a.m. to 9 p.m .operating hours.

Vehicles pass Diokno Avenue near the SM Mall of Asia where a road lockdown will be imposed from April 28 to 30 for the Upcoming Asean Summit. (Alvin Kasiban / MANILA BULLETIN)

(Alvin Kasiban / MANILA BULLETIN)

“The mall operators have expressed concern that one-hour delayed opening might affect the sales of their commercial establishments,” he said.

Taguinod said adjusting the operating hours of malls, particularly along Epifanio Delos Santos Avenue (Edsa), would help ease traffic with the construction of several infrastructure projects lined up for the year under the “Build, Build, Build” program.

Earlier, MMDA assistant general manager for planning Jojo Garcia said travel speed along Edsa increased when shopping malls adjusted operational hours in October last year.

In a data provided by the MMDA Public Information Office, the average travel speed on Edsa increased by 9.29 percent, from 17.44 kilometers per hour (kph) in September to 19.06 kph in November.

Garcia said cooperation of mall operators may help reduce traffic congestion along Edsa and other parts of the metropolis.

Among the projects in the pipeline this year are Metro Rail Transit-Light Rail Transit common station in second quarter; LRT line 2 extension project on Marcos Highway and LRT Line 1 extension to Cavite; Metro Manila’s first subway in the third quarter; Megawide Southwest Terminal, South Terminal, MRT 7, bridges to be built by the Department of Public Works and Highways; rehabilitation of Guadalupe Bridge.

These infrastructure projects are the government’s short- and long-term solutions to address the worsening traffic congestion in Metro Manila.

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