Monster traffic hounds J.P. Laurel

By Anthony S. Allada
THE MONSTER traffic has continued to take its toll at the long stretch of J.P. Laurel Avenue since the SM Lanang Premier, the city’s second mall of Sy-owned SM Malls, was opened to the public on Friday.
Traffic Management Center (TMC) chief Desiderio Cloribel admitted the bumber-to-bumper traffic could have been immediately remedied if other entrance and exit point in R. Castillo Street had been opened.
Cloribel had to pull out around 200 TMC personnel at their respective posts at downtown streets to be force multipliers manning the heavy traffic at the area but to no avail.
On Friday morning,  thousands of people including non-residents of Davao City were early birds to see for themselves the much-anticipated mall’s grand opening and were all amazed of the friendly and smiling faces of mall employees while being mesmerized of the “live mannequins” at the entrances.
Because of the traffic, motorists especially taxicabs opted to pass through the already busy R. Castillo Street in Agdao district area.
Cloribel said there was already a plan to have another route in R. Castillo Street after the barangay hall of Ubalde will be demolished and transferred to another location.
The SM Lanang Premier would be SM Prime’s biggest and first-of-its-kind premier mall development project in Mindanao, offering convention and hotel amenities to this city that has become the nation’s favorite convention venue during the last decade.
Also making a landmark is the country’s longest dancing fountain with a 122-meter stretch of water jets while soon to open would be SM Bowling Center and the Science Discovery Center.
The mall has a floor area of 144,002 square meters and sprawls on a 100,000-sq.m. lot with an origami-inspired structure.
It caters SM mall mainstays: SM Department Store, SM Supermarket, Watsons, Ace Hardware, and other major SM retail affiliates that were the first to open their stores here when the first SM City began operation 10 years ago.
An addition to the city’s need for a modern convention facility, the mall opens SMX Davao Convention Center on its third floor.
To complement the facility, the Park Inn Hotel by Radisson would also be operational by February 2013, in time for the holding of Asia’s main travel and tour conference called MICE (Meeting, Incentives, Conferences and Events).
SMX Davao is 2.5 kilometers from the Davao International Airport and 4-6 kilometers away from the domestic and international seaports.
With function and meeting rooms accommodating around 5,000 delegates or up to 380 exhibit modules, it is envisioned to become the leading venue for meetings, conventions, and exhibitions in the southern region of the country. (ASA)
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