Downhill on General Luna Street, Iloilo City

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infante Flyover in front of University of the Philippines Visayas

Infante Flyover in front of University of the Philippines Visayas

Generally I try to be pretty positive but I’ve been so sad to see the degradation of one of Iloilo City’s most beautiful streets, Gen. Luna. Gen. Luna Street was all that most Philippine city streets are not. It was a gracious boulevard with a landscaped median with trees separating two lanes in each direction. Between the sidewalk and the roadway was another landscaped buffer also with street trees. All this meant that Gen Luna’s four lanes and wide sidewalks could accommodate both vehicle and pedestrian traffic gracefully. The boulevard seems to be an integral part of a colonial “city beautiful” program including and linking the old Provincial Capitol, the Arroyo fountain, and the University of San Agustin and UPV campuses. I may not have all the historic details right but this ensemble really is one of Iloilo City’s finest assets.

This photo shows the completed flyover in front of the city campus of the University of the Philippines in the Visayas. The further work shown in the photo is the digging up of the landscaped buffer which formerly separated the roadway from the sidewalk. Someone must have come to the realization that the flyover eliminated two lanes of the old road. The solution — dig up the buffer and pave that too. Perhaps there were traffic problems at this intersection. One wishes that more elegant and more economical solution could have been found. Even more unfortunately, another such monstrosity is scheduled for construction at the intersection of Jalandoni and General Luna. It will do to the pretty University of San Agustin neighborhood what the Infante flyover has done to UPV, perhaps worse. (See /downhill-on-general-luna-redux/ for an update)

I don’t think my complaint is just being against “progress”. There is much talk about attracting tourists and development to Iloilo. I hope that planners will realize that one of Iloilo’s strengths is its physical attractiveness and surviving historic resources when compared to other Philippine cities. Iloilo was spared the almost total destruction of its pre-war architecture and civic infrastructure that Cebu and Manila suffered. Investors, tourists and retirees care about the quality of the environment in which they live and this includes the physical attractiveness and livability of the community.

Nice for SUV but what about pedestrians?

The view from UPV

A boulevard no more……


Here’s an interesting link.  It’s interesting for a couple reasons.  It tells the story of a Seoul flyover which was demolished to make way for a park but it also shows the incredible transformation of Korea as illustrated by the area where the flyover was built.  In the 1960s that part of Seoul was a slum, as bad or worse than anything in the Philippines.  In the 80s and 90s the area developed and the flyover was built.  By 2002 officials decided to demolish the flyway as an environmental and aesthetic disaster. Today the area is lavishly redeveloped.  Look at the photos taken in the 1960s and wonder how this could be accomplished.

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  1. Pingback: Downhill on General Luna Street, Iloilo City | Philippines or Bust

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