Victorias City in Negros Occidental is implementing a “car-free day” every first Monday of the month starting this October to reduce air pollution and promote a healthier environment for its residents.
Mandated by City Ordinance (CO) 2023-59, approved by Mayor Javier Miguel Benitez last month, the city government has designated car-free zones where entry and operation of vehicles are restricted or completely prohibited.
“The ‘no-car zone’ policy represents an initiative designed to mitigate air pollution by effectively reducing the volume of vehicles that release harmful pollutants into the atmosphere. This ordinance aims to promote sustainable transportation, reduce traffic congestion, improve air quality, and create a safer and more liveable environment,” the Committee on Transportation and Traffic Management chaired by Councilor Richard Julius Sablan, which sponsored the passage of the legislation, said in the ordinance.
It added that by implementing car-free measures, the city government aims to encourage alternative modes of transportation such as walking, cycling, public transit, and carpooling.
Areas identified as designated car-free zones are Montinola Street, from the City Health Office to Victorias City Police Station; Yap Quiña Street, from Victorias Police City Station to the corner of Don Alejandro Acuña Yap Quiña Arts and Cultural Center; and Jover Street, from Don Alejandro Acuña Yap Quiña Arts and Cultural Center to 7-Eleven convenience store.
Every first Monday of the month, these areas will be exclusively accessible to pedestrians, cyclists, and other non-motorized means of transportation to promote sustainable mobility, reduce air pollution, and foster a greener environment, the ordinance said.
Those exempted are residents living within the car-free zones and with permits allowing limited access to their residences for loading and unloading purposes.
Also exempted are persons with disabilities (PWDs), elderly passengers, private and government vehicles transporting essential or significant goods or materials, and individuals who rely on motor vehicles for mobility.
The northern Negros city first implemented car-free zones last June 26 in line with the observance of Environment Week 2023 to encourage individuals to reduce daily carbon emissions and fully utilize the provided pedestrian lanes and designated path walk areas.*PNA