By Filane Mikee Cervantes

BIKE LANE. Cyclists pedal their way to work along the busy Elliptical Road in Quezon City on Dec. 12, 2022. Quezon City Rep. Marvin Rillo on Tuesday (Jan. 2, 2024) said Congress has increased to PHP1 billion the funding for the Active Transport and Safe Pathways Program to accelerate the development of protected bicycle lanes. (PNA file photo by Jess M. Escaros Jr.)

MANILA – Congress has increased to PHP1 billion the funding for the Active Transport and Safe Pathways Program (ATSPP) to accelerate the development of protected bicycle lanes.

In a statement on Tuesday, Quezon City Rep. Marvin Rillo said Congress doubled this year’s funding of PHP500 million that the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) had initially requested when it first submitted the budget for congressional approval.

“In the 2024 General Appropriations Law, we bumped up to PHP1 billion the budget for bicycle lanes with durable physical separation from mixed traffic lanes,” Rillo said. “This is our way of reassuring Filipinos that cycling is a sustainable alternative mode of mobility.”

“We are absolutely determined to promote cycling and lessen harmful motor vehicle emissions in the interest of public health,” Rillo said.

Rillo said the program received PHP705 million in 2023 and PHP2 billion in 2022.

The ATSPP has so far put up 564 kilometers of bicycle lanes throughout Metro Manila, Metro Cebu, and Metro Davao as of June 2023, he noted.

The Department of Transportation projects the country’s bicycle lane network to reach 2,400 kilometers by 2028.

The ATSPP bankrolls the construction, maintenance, and improvement of protected bicycle lanes and pedestrian walkways in metropolitan areas, highly urbanized cities, and independent component cities.

It finances the procurement of bicycle racks, the development of end-of-trip cycling and support facilities, and the upgrading of pop-up bicycle lanes into permanent ones.

Under the program, cycling and pedestrian infrastructure shall be protected and shall include shaded walkways and urban shade trees wherever feasible.

Pedestrian walkways and crossings shall, by default, be at-grade for the inclusion of persons with disability, senior citizens, pregnant women, children with strollers, tourists with luggage, and parents with children. (PNA)