Pedestrian-Friendly Streetscape in a Tropical Business District

Zenaida C. Galingan


Streets are the lifelines of a community. Choke them, and the place dies; deprive them of their nutrients and ailments will be prevalent. A characteristic of a good street community is having all the necessary elements that will make the users feel safe and comfortable. Pleasant surroundings, appropriate lighting and other well-designed street furniture plus good maintenance all contribute to make a road both vehicular and pedestrian friendly.

One of the major problems encountered in designing a successful streetscape in a tropical country is providing convenience to pedestrians due mainly to the harsh climate. The usual unpredicted monsoon rains and hot rays from the sun make long and even short distance walking a hard task and something that is to be avoided if possible. This, coupled with air pollution due to vehicular emissions aggravated by traffic congestion, plus unsafe sidewalks, make walking unenjoyable.

A community, to be successful and thriving, must have an efficient road network in order for it to be more accessible, attractive to investors and visitors and thus more prosperous. How a premier business district was able to cope with the challenges and problems will be discussed in this paper. Studies of other communities will also be considered.

While many studies had been done on pedestrianization, very few has dealt with existing streets in tropical countries, especially the Philippines and making them pedestrian friendly vehicular roads. Recommendations that can serve as guidelines and innovative design ideas will be introduced which can be applied to other existing thoroughfares addressing the innate characteristics of the Filipinos when it comes to street usage.

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