Valenzuela City is turning Fatima Avenue into a pedestrian-friendly urban space

The rehabilitated space will be opened in 2022
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PHOTO: Rex Gatchalian on Facebook

If there’s one thing the pandemic has made even more obvious, it’s that Metro Manila sure could use better urban planning—something already painfully obvious since pre-lockdown. Centralized layouts cause traffic jams, but if we had bike lanes to encourage better mobility and open spaces to maintain social distancing, we might actually like moving around.

In an effort to provide more public parks and urban green spaces to its residents, Valenzuela City is rehabilitating Fatima Avenue.

“Noon pa man, naniniwala tayo na hindi dapat ang pamilya lagi lang nasa mall. Ang quality time ng pamilya dapat nasa mga pampublikong espasyo na open air para ma-enjoy nila ang kanilang pagiging pamilya,” said Mayor Rex Gatchalian in a video by the National Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima’s Commission on Social Communications.

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The open-space project Pambansang Dambana ng Birhen ng Fatima is designed by the office of architect Gerard Lico, who is known for championing heritage conservation in architecture. It is scheduled to open in mid-2022.

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“Fatima is a pedestrianization project meant to create a new civic space out of an exisiting street,” Lico said. “It wil become a walkable street closed to motorized traffic so as to create a new character for the City of Valenzuela. Ang intention namin dito is really to bring back the street to the people. Nowadays, mas binibigyan nating priority yung mga kotse; so ngayon, ibinabalik natin sa tao yung kalye at para maging ito ay isang vibrant element.”

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The whole stretch of Fatima Avenue, from the arch to the National Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima, will be closed to traffic. The street will have lampposts and benches built around decades-old trees. The design and furniture will be based on the “iconic folded plate of the Shrine,” explained Lico. Local restaurants along the street will also have al-fresco dining, while foldable kiosks will be available for weekend markets.

Are you looking forward to visiting once the area is opened to the public? We know we are. Sound off in the comments.

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NOTE: This article first appeared on . Minor edits have been made.

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PHOTO: Rex Gatchalian on Facebook
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