I live in BGC and I consider this one of the best decisions my wife and I had made in our lives. We are now “empty nesters,” and nearing our retirement years, which makes our BGC decision all the more a right move, insofar as we are concerned. Everything you need and need to go are here, and all within walking distance: a world class hospital, church, groceries, cinemas, wide open spaces, walkable and biking lanes, parks, etc. And maybe because most of the BPOs are here, there is no night or day in this area; which makes this place safe to walk around, anytime of the day.
I can say that BGC is the best example of a 15-minute city in the Philippines, more than the other CBDs and townships, so far. But being the success story that it is, there are signs of the beginning of some cracks in its success, with traffic congestion and scarcity of parking spaces becoming evident in this bustling business center. The BGC enclave can definitely stand some improvement. And seeing myself living here until my sunset years, I would like BGC to preserve and even better its premiere urban sustainability.
Making BGC more sustainable is not really a huge undertaking, if you think about it. Especially so, since its original master planners did their jobs really well. Yes, there is a real need to improve the main road corridor ingress and egress infrastructure, plus more smart city solutions can come into play, such as modern public transport, waste water facilities, streetlighting from renewable energy sources, and a more robust broadband coverage. But as it is right now, there are some steps that can be taken to improve the overall sustainability of BGC. My two cents worth:
Noise pollution: Noise can be a nuisance in this otherwise green community and the irritant really comes mainly from the vehicles that pass thru BGC roads, mainly from motorcycles, jeepneys and the luxury speedsters that frequent the area. This can be corrected immediately, by mere policy of the area administrators. Keep BGC noise free. And flag down these noise pollutants, regardless whether these are the jeepneys or the Ferraris or Ducatis.
Pedestrian/Cyclist First Enforcement. The truth is, BGC is already generous in its bicycle and pedestrian lanes. What can be improved is enforcing the mantra to protect pedestrians and cyclists first. Again enforcement.
Cleaner BGC. A little more effort on this. And again, enforcement. I still see people leaving their trash on the streets and on the empty lots in BGC. Again, enforcement is the key. But we can even go a step further. BGC can be the first honest to goodness center for segregation in the country. We do have the weekly trash for cash mobile truck going around, which is good. But having more segregation sites and enforcing anti-littering laws will be much appreciated.
Enforce stricter traffic laws beyond illegal parking. BGC in its infancy used to have the same reputation as that of Subic, where traffic enforcement was comparable to that of other countries like Singapore and the United States. So, while everywhere else is traffic chaos, once you enter BGC, everyone should follow the rules. We had that before, why don’t we do it again.
Coordination among the BGC area managers. Then there seems to be a disconnect in the management of the different areas that comprise BGC—the Ayala side, the Megaworld areas and the SM component. This is very evident not just in terms of traffic flows, but if one is observant you can see the non-coordination of supervision in terms of upkeep and maintenance. Walking towards SM Aura from Robinson’s Trion, along the perimeter of the American cemetery, you will find uncollected garbage and no lighting along the way, a stark contrast to the clean and well-lit avenues on the other side.
The fringes are important. Let’s admit it, the areas of Kalayaan Avenue, Capitula, the so-called EMBOs, are vital to the BGC ecosystem, even more than that of its posh neighbors in Forbes and Dasamarinas. For in these areas are the bedroom communities of those who work in BGC. It does not cost much to factor in the development of these areas. It just needs coordination for traffic management, administrative services and peace and order. Eventually this will lead to its gentrification that will only result in more value for BGC.
BGC, with a little more effort, can indeed become the premiere model community not just here but in our region and even globally. And I do hope we can see the little improvements here and there. Otherwise, this might be a good reason to consider running to become a barangay captain of this place, just to see it happen.
The author may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org .edu