BAGUIO Mayor Benjamin Magalong has revealed that the city has yet to acquire the appropriate amount of lots to put up enough parking structures to accommodate Baguio’s growing traffic backlog.
The city’s studies indicate that Baguio needs anywhere from 14,000 to 22,000 parking slots to alleviate the worsening traffic situation in its roads, which would require a minimum of 30 dedicated parking buildings throughout the city, according to Magalong.
However, Magalong said that to date, only eight lots that can be used for the purpose have been identified for acquisition by the city.
“Right now, the registered vehicles in Baguio is around 56,000, minus 15,000 motorcycles,” Magalong said, adding that rapidly growing tourism adds even more non-permanent vehicles to the city’s roads.
Among the eight available lots are the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) area, Bayan Park, GSIS & Convention Center compound, as well as a lot in Camp John Hay area.
The city started pre-existing parking projects late last year, including the P400-million public parking building set to rise near the Baguio City Hall in the place of the former Baguio City Fire Department (BCFD).
The city previously also tagged some seven sites for public parking, according to City Planning and Development Officer Donna Tabangin.
Alongside the BCFD parking space, eight parking buildings have entered the design phase.
Construction is expected to start within the year, but none of the buildings are slated to finish in 2023.
The P400-million, 200-slot parking project, according to City Administrator Bonifacio Dela Peña, will pull vehicular traffic away from the Baguio City Hall and Baguio City Public Market.
Additionally, the market development project is expected to provide at least 1,200 slots. The parking stats are a condition for the upcoming Swiss challenge, where SM Prime Holdings may present their counter-offer to the city.