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CamSur biz chamber partners with city hall to make Naga bicycle-friendly

CSCCI President Raymond Y. Concepcion and Mayor John G. Bongat, 3rd and 4th from left, respectively, show the copy of the memorandum of agreement that binds their partnership. The document defines the role of each entity in attaining the dynamics of a bicycle-friendly city. Also in photo are (L-R): CSCCI Director Ernie Abragan, Vice-Mayor Nelson S. Legacion, Concepcion, Bongat, First Lady Farah R. Bongat, chair of Naga City Bike Fest Executive Committee, and the business organization’s Executive Director Rolly Salazar, Deo Durante, VP for External Affairs Enrico Evangelista and Director Oliver Coronado. PING COLLERACEPPIO

By Jason B. Neola NAGA CITY --- Aside from the various approaches that it has initiated to boost the city’s campaign on health and environment, the local government unit here has partnered with the Camarines Sur Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CSCCI) to make the city bicycle friendly. The idea goes with the institutionalization of bicycles as healthful transport facility and the establishment of parking spaces and bike racks in selected public areas. In a memorandum of agreement, the city and CSCCI believe that bicycles can replace riding motorized single occupancy vehicles which, in turn, would result in the reduction of fuel consumption while the aim for a better air quality is being achieved. The promotion of bike as environment-friendly and cost-efficient mode of transportation and the establishment of appropriate facilities such as safe bicycle parking spaces were contained in City Ordinance 2008-068 which was authored by Mayor John G. Bongat when he was still city councilor. Known as the “Naga City Bicycle and Motorcycle Parking Ordinance,” the measure also aims to make riding the bicycles more convenient. The CSCCI, as contained in the agreement, shall provide the bicycle racks and will pay the cost of installation including the maintenance and repair of the facility. CSCCI, on the other hand, will be granted with exclusive rights to use the shelves where they can post their business advertisement or promotional materials. Initially, the business group will construct at least 15 bike racks. In a related development, the Sangguniang Panlungsod is preparing to pass an ordinance that provides for the rules and regulations regarding the use and promotion of bicycles in the city. Authored by Vice Mayor Nelson Legacion and City Councilor Joselito Del Rosario, the proposed measure contains, among others, the duties and obligations of a cyclist, registration and accreditation of bike clubs, bicycle loan program for city government employees, bike lanes, support facilities (i.e. sidewalk improvements, pedestrian and bicycle crossing improvements) to ensure the safe travel of bikers, bicycle month, the “No Car Days” in the city’s selected streets, and bicycle parking in appropriate public places. Bongat, who issued Executive Order 2016-043 which laid down the bases for the realization of a “Bicycle-friendly City” status for Naga, said the primordial objective of his order is to provide the Nagueños with reliable, clean, and affordable mode of transportation that can be duplicated by other private and government agencies. CSCCI President Raymond Concepcion echoed Legacion and Del Rosario’s explanatory note in the proposed ordinance which states that “the use of bicycles may stimulate robust equitable and sustainable economic development and that bicycle tourism can attract visitors and spur growth. Concepcion said CSCCI is more than willing to partner in the undertaking that can be an important factor in an effort to achieve a stable socio-economy, not to mention the benefit that the project would do to decongest traffic and reduce losses in travel time and opportunity costs. The proposed locations of the bike racks, which will be permanently mounted and fastened to the ground, are: Bicol Central Station in Central Business District II, Naga City Police Office in Barlin St., the vicinity of Barangay Hall of Barangay Dinaga, Naga Metropolitan Cathedral (near the PNP-SWAT station), and the Camarines Sur National High School/SPED Center in Peñafrancia Avenue (near the PNP station). At present, cyclists or bikers can park and lock their units at the bike racks installed in a certain portion of SM City grounds, PNP station in Plaza Quezon, and City Hall (at the back of Public Safety Office).

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