Image: Robin Barlis (Twitter)

Photo of enforcer directing foot traffic at Ortigas MRT station’s narrow walkway draws mixed reactions

If you’ve ever alighted at the Metro Rail Transit (MRT)-3 Ortigas station, then you’ve likely had to pass through the incredibly narrow walkway — inches of a sidewalk left after the rest has been eaten up by the station’s own stairway — to get to where you’re going. Aside from being shoulder to shoulder against a concrete wall, you can imagine the unnecessary foot traffic that piles up during rush hour, as the stretch can only accommodate one person at a time.

The MRT-3 administration has created a remedy to this… sort of. A photo of a “traffic enforcer” directing pedestrians to stop and go and regulate foot traffic has made the rounds on social media to mixed reactions.

“In this country, it’s people who have to adjust,” u/starboydiego commented.

“This is the result of Car Centric Infrastructure, the pedestrian space was set aside, while giving more space for cars. A sidewalk should be wider enough and also, bike lanes similar to Iloilo where Bikers and Pedestrians can share this path,” u/NirvanaAlawi said.

“Well shucks if ‘car centric infrastructure’ has nothing to do with it then surely it’d be just fine to eat at least half a lane of EDSA to the left of the stairway so the sidewalk could accommodate more people walking abreast, right?” u/gradenko_2000 chimed in.

Meanwhile, others disagreed that planning built around cars was solely to blame.

“Or they could just re-structure the stairs having multiple layers to accommodate pedestrians without affecting the road. But sure let’s blame the cars,” u/cncrngpns wrote.

Meanwhile, others posed a theory that mall tycoons were behind the bizarre layout and location of the station.

User u/heavyarmszero alleged that the reason why the MRT Shaw and Ortigas stations were so close to each other, with the latter placed inconveniently for commuters was the result of a feud between its two closest shopping malls, Robinsons Galleria and SM Megamall.

“The original plan was to have MRT Ortigas as an underground station that connects directly to Robinsons Galleria, similar to MRT Makati and Glorietta/SM Makati. Henry Sy and SM fought tooth and nail so this won’t happen and to position it near SM Megamall that’s why it’s located where it is now… Compare how wide the middle of EDSA is along Robinsons Galleria with that of SM Megamall,” they said.

“More like Megamall A station rather than Ortigas station. You still have to walk far just to reach Ortigas Avenue. That’s what happens when malls dictate, or rather bid, for how the station should be closer to their mall rather than their actual intended location,” u/lexicoterio chimed in, alluding to the fact that many train stations are connected or located close to shopping malls around the city.

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