Pearl Project: "Road to a Walkable Pearl Drive"

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We, the residents and office workers of Barangay San Antonio, and the faculty, staff, and students of the University of Asia and the Pacific (UA&P), urge the government of the City of Pasig, the government of Barangay San Antonio, Ortigas & Company, and Ortigas Center Association, Inc. to make Pearl Drive walkable through the construction of a linear park along the Pearl Drive creekside, and by reclaiming its sidewalk from establishments that have usurped it as their parking space. We live, work, and study in a city that calls itself a "Green City", and aims to be "a healthy, liveable and sustainable ecopolis" (Pasig City Vision). Yet, on Pearl Drive, this vision is nowhere to be seen. 

To walk along Pearl Drive is to be forced to walk on the street, fully exposed to passing traffic, because much of the sidewalk has been taken over by parked and waiting cars. Not only does this inconvenience pedestrians, it also endangers them. Walking along Pearl Drive is to compete with vehicles on the very sidewalks that ought to be reserved and protected for pedestrians.

We believe that such a deteriorated public space, one that is unsafe as it is unsightly, lowers quality of life in Barangay San Antonio. The entire front of UA&P has become a rubble and litter-strewn parking lot with little or no space for pedestrians. Even on the crosswalk in front of the university, pedestrians are forced to dodge vehicles or plead with to stop. To enter Pearl Drive as a pedestrian is immediately to become a second-class citizen. 

We want Pearl Drive to be safe and beautiful because it is walkable. The rehabilitation of Pearl Drive so that it supports and projects pedestrians is in the interest of all. A walkable neighborhood is better for everyone, not just pedestrians. It discourages speeding, sustains the restaurants and cafes that are the anchors of vibrant streetlife, and protects against crime that proliferates when streets are deserted and dark. Moreover, a walkable Pearl Drive will help put our part of the Ortigas business district on par with other business districts wherein the pedestrian is priority not only because it is safer, but because it is better.

A walkable Pearl Drive is our answer to the call of the government of the City of Pasig that its citizens contribute to its Ambitious City Promises project. We understand that the Ambitious City Promises project seeks to address climate change through strategies and programs formulated by citizens. It is our hope that Pasig City acts on our desire by helping transform Pearl Drive from a place dominated by cars to one wherein high-standard pedestrian spaces are constructed, maintained, and protected. This transformation shall reduce the carbon footprint in the community by encouraging walking. It shall also provide everyone in the community with a park to rest and recreate. 

We appeal to the management of Ortigas & Company and Ortigas Center Association, Inc. to support the residents and stakeholders of Pearl Drive in implementing the same high standard of walkability that characterizes its newer developments, such as the nearby F. Ortigas Jr. Road and Capitol Commons. We trust that they have at heart the common good and will not hesitate to enable the changes needed to rehabilitate Pearl Drive.

Transforming the Pearl Drive creekside into a linear park will not only change the face of UA&P, it will also improve the quality of life of everyone in Barangay San Antonio, especially its constituents. The needs of constituents pedestrians, especially the young and elderly, who live or work in Barangay San Antonio are as important or more important than the parking requirements of motorists. A park is public space for everyone, not just for those with cars. It will renew Pearl Drive, providing the barangay with a beautiful, tree-covered public space.

The success of this petition relies on nothing more than the freely given support of the residents and office workers of Barangay San Antonio, and individual members of the UA&P community. We invite all to work toward creating what shall become our barangay's largest park. On Pearl Drive, the common good can be made concrete. Now is the time to move from thought and into action.

From: Friends of Pearl Drive