Thursday, March 27, 2014

What the hell happened here?

While sightseeing around Metro Manila on Google Maps I found this bizarre monstrosity just east of SM North EDSA in Quezon City.

View in Google Maps
How did they get into this situation where the have this wild mishmash of irregularly shaped buildings of different colored roofs and no apparent roads? It makes me dizzy just looking at it, like an M. C. Escher optical illusion. The roofs overlap and slice through each other, with buildings ending arbitrarily and giving way to a spattering of slums.

Is there some inherent inability for Filipinos to think in straight lines?

As a remedy, I flew over to Ontario, CA, in an area dominated by business parks and warehouses.

View in Google Maps

 Ahh... much better.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Philippine High Speed Rail Map

Here's an imaginary map of a high speed rail network that spans the Philippines, connecting all the major cities from Laoag in the north to Tawi-Tawi way down south, and even the Tubbataha reef in the middle of the Sulu Sea.

This is not a real thing that exists, or a thing that will ever exist. But it is something to feed our dreams.

Inspired by the various world metro maps out there on the internet.

Friday, August 30, 2013

What's Really Going On with the MRT-7?

Manila's MRT-7 would be quite the dream. The project would have a 23 km rail line with 14 stations, reaching from the North Avenue Station at Trinoma, up to the final station in San Juan del Monte in Bulacan, and a 22 km road connecting that station to the North Luzon Expressway.

Yet every time I hear about the project in the news it's still just months away from the start of construction. Some samples of the news over the years:

Apr 14, 2013 - NEDA re-evaluating proposed MRT 7
"A proposal to put up a mass rail transit that would operate between North Avenue in Quezon City and Bulacan is now with the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) for re-evaluation."
Dec 4, 2012 - SMC ready to start MRT-7 construction 
"Diversified conglomerate San Miguel Corp. (SMC) is ready to start the construction of the $2.2-billion Metro Rail Transit (MRT)-7 from San Jose del Monte in Bulacan to North Ave. in Quezon City after getting the green light from the government."
May 16, 2012 - MRT-7 construction on track
"The construction of the $1.6-billion Metro Railway Transit Line 7 (MRT-7) linking North Edsa to Bulacan is set to begin as its proponent, the San Miguel group, has awarded the contract to build the elevated railway to a consortium led by Marubeni-DMCI." 
May 5, 2011 - MRT 7 seen completed in ’14
"In a disclosure earlier this week, the company said it would start work on the Metro Rail Transit (MRT) line 7 project—involving the construction of a 22-kilometer train line and the six-lane road beneath it—before the end of the year."
"Mayor Eduardo Roque disclosed that the construction of the $1.2-billion Metro Rail Transit (MRT) 7 system that will link the MRT along EDSA in Quezon City to this city would start in January next year."
"If construction is started next year (if it is approved this year), MRT 7 will be fully operational by 2012."
"After much time in the planning stage, the Metro Rail Transit (MRT) 7 linking SM North EDSA area in Quezon City to Monumento in Caloocan City will be ready in 12 months."
"The $1.23-billion MRT-7 project is targeted for completion in 2012."
Jan 27, 2004 - Ride to progress
"PHASE 1 of MRT 7, designed to reduce travel time for people in northern Manila, will be considered for final approval by the Cabinet Committee on Transportation and Communications on 28 January. Proponent LRT Corporation estimates that it will be operational by 2006, two years in the term of a new, or renewed, administration."
How about enough of your bullshit and lies. It has already been 11 years since the original project proposal, and 7 years after the date that the MRT-7 was originally supposed to be completed-- years of bidding, and evaluation, and re-evaluation, and bureaucracy, and empty promises. And not a single shovel has hit the dirt.

Something to think about the next time the Philippine government tries to pacify its people with ridiculous empty promises.