Throughout the years, Epifanio de los Santos Avenue (EDSA) has gone through major changes in response to car volume and population growth. Once with grassy, open fields, to the condensed, busy thoroughfare of today. Let’s take a look at what happened to EDSA in between these changes.
Construction of what was called the “North-South Circumferential Road” started in the 1930s from the North Diversion Road (today the North Luzon Expressway) and ending at the current Magallanes Interchange. After the independence of the Philippines in 1946, the road was renamed Avenida 19 de Junio (June 19 Avenue), the birth date of national hero José Rizal.
EDSA had been renamed Highway 54 in the 1950s because of the common misconception on that time that the avenue is 54 km long. However, Rizalists wanted the avenue’s name to be kept as 19 de Junio, while President Ramon Magsaysay wanted the avenue to be named after Rizal and Rizal Province residents, on the other hand, wanted the avenue to be named after a Rizaleño, a historian, jurist, and scholar named Epifanio de los Santos y Cristóbal. The Philippine Historical Committee (now the National Historical Commission of the Philippines), the Philippine Historical Association, the Philippine Library Association, Association of University and College Professors, the Philippine China Cultural Association, and the Philippine National Historical Society, led by fellow Rizaleños Eulogio Rodriguez Sr. and Juan Sumulong, supported the renaming of Highway 54 to Epifanio de los Santos Avenue.
During Marcos’ tenure, traffic jams in the avenue started to build up. Several interchanges were constructed to relieve congestion, including the Balintawak and Magallanes Interchanges at the ends of the avenue. Later, with the implementation of the Metro Manila Arterial Road System in 1965, in order to complete the Circumferential Road 4 system, EDSA was extended to Taft Avenue from the South Luzon Expressway (the extension was called F. Rein Avenue), and further to Roxas Boulevard (the extension was called P. Lovina Avenue).
Through all these up until the mid-80s many parts of the roadway still overlooked vast grasslands and open fields, with moderate vehicle congestions. After going through a long history of name changes, how does EDSA of today compare with the past?