How pedestrian-friendly is the new Estrella-Pantaleon Bridge?

Set to open within the month
by Sharleen Banzon | Jul 13, 2021
PHOTO: Jom Gutierrez

In case you missed it, we recently looked into the pedestrian component of the recently opened BGC-Ortigas Bridge, and suffice to say that at this point in time, it’s not looking to be the most pedestrian-friendly new piece of infrastructure to rise in the metro. Two things working against it: sidewalks that are not uniform in width and don’t extend across the entire length of the structure, and pedestrian access that entails a leg-cramping steep climb. Check out our review here.

We’ll go back and make a full assessment once the structure has been fully completed. In the meantime, we turn our attention to the Estrella-Pantaleon Bridge, aka the Rockwell Bridge, which promises to cut travel time between the cities of Makati and Mandaluyong to just 12 minutes when it opens this month. And while construction hasn’t hit 100% completion yet, this bridge is looking more pedestrian-friendly compared with its counterpart across EDSA.

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The images here are taken from a vantage point overlooking the Makati end of the structure, and show that the sidewalks on both sides have railings separating them from the carriageway. The pedestrian walkways begin several meters into the ramp near the T-junction of Estrella and JP Rizal Rizal Streets; access stairs have yet to be constructed as of this writing.

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“The sidewalk, the pedestrian component, is three meters; bikers can be accommodated,” said Secretary Mark Villar of the Department of Public Works and Highways in a May 2021 update. “[The new bridge] has four lanes compared to the old bridge which only has one lane and the pedestrian component is only one meter.”

In the DPWH’s Guidelines on the Design of Bicycle Facilities Along National Roads (Department Order No. 88-2020), sidewalks at least three meters wide along bridges and viaducts may be converted into a ‘shared use path’ for pedestrians, cyclists, and “other non-motorized users.” The guidelines state that the operating width of cyclists is 1.22 meters, and that shared use paths as narrow as 2.44 meters may be allowed for short distances “if there are physical constraints such as environmental feature, bridge abutment, fence, utility structure, etc.”

Right now, we still have unanswered questions: How will the Estrella-Pantaleon Bridge be segregated for different road users? How long will its sidewalks stretch across the 506-meter structure? How pedestrian-friendly will sidewalk access be? We should get some answers later this month. In the meantime, any comments based on what you’ve seen so far?

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PHOTO: Jom Gutierrez
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