Rizal Avenue

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Rizal Avenue
Direction: North/South
From: Junction of Rizal Avenue Extension, Abad Santos Avenue and Hermosa St.
Aurora Blvd., Blumentritt Road, Tayuman St., Claro M. Recto Ave.
To: Carlos Palanca St.
Major cities: Manila

Rizal Avenue also known as "Avenida" or "Avenida Rizal" is one of Manila's main thoroughfares. Named after the national hero José Rizal, it is a part of Radial Road 9 (R-9). The Light Rail Transit's (LRT) Yellow Line (LRT-1) elevated railroad is built above the street in its entire length, and several jeepneys ply the area taking passengers from Caloocan, Parañaque and Quezon City. Most of the street is within the Sta. Cruz district.


Contemporary landmarks

The LRT-1 stations are the main landmarks of the avenue; there are six of them at Rizal Avenue. SM City San Lazaro is a walking distance from Tayuman Street, and at the south end is the Isetann Carriedo mall. In front of Isetann is Plaza Lacson (formerly Plaza Goiti). Dr. Jose Reyes Menorial Medical Center and the Espiritu Santo Parish Church are the other landmarks along the avenue.


Prior to and right after World War II, the avenue was center of the city's social life, with the street lined with shops, restaurants and movie theaters. The theaters were designed by the prominent architects of the day, many of whom would become National Artists.<ref name="artist">Jalbuena, Katrice. "Rizal Avenue landmark gone", The Manila Times, Yehey.com, 4 June 2006. Retrieved on 20 January 2009. </ref>

Two National Artists for architecture, Pablo Antonio and Juan Nakpil, created several of the movie theaters along the avenue. Antonio designed the Galaxy, the Ideal, the Scala and the Lyric theaters, while Nakpil designed the Capitol, the Ever and the Avenue theaters. As the years went by, the area was victimized by urbal renewal.

The main culprit of the deterioration of the area was the LRT; the train was to ease traffic in Rizal Avenue and Taft Avenue south of the Pasig River but it also killed business along the route. The cinemas themselves resorted to showing double feature B-movies and soft porn, as people transferred to the newer and more modern Ortigas Center and the Ayala Center.<ref name="artist"/>

In 2000, during the mayorship of Lito Atienza, the stretch from C.M. Recto Avenue to Palanca Street was turned into a pedestrian-only thoroughfare by laying bricks on the road, with the buildings and the LRT painted as part of an urban renewal project. This caused vehicles to use the secondary roads such as Tomas Mapua and Doroteo Jose Streets in order to go to and from Plaza Lacson.<ref name="artist"/><ref name="reopen">Lopez, Allison. "Lim reopens Rizal Avenue, forest park", The Philippine Daily Inquirer, 2 July 2007. Retrieved on 20 January 2009. </ref> The Ideal Theater was previously demolished, the Galaxy, Scala and Lyric theaters are now misused. The first level of the Ever Theater is occupied by stalls, while the upper levels are abandoned. Only the refurbished Capitol Theater, now a dimsum palace, survived the modern times and is still active.<ref name="artist"/> The pedetrianization of Rizal Avenue was completed on 2003 and was meant to only last for a short time but it has persisted until 2008.<ref name="reopen"/><ref name="reopen2">Lopez, Allison. "Rizal Avenue old-timers welcome reopening", The Philippine Daily Inquirer, 17 July 2007. Retrieved on 20 January 2009. </ref>

The Avenue Theater, which survived the Battle of Manila of 1945, was demolished in 2006 to give way to a parking area. The costs of maintaining the facility were too high, as compared for it to be converted as a parking area. The National Historical Institute (NHI) and several private entities tried to prevent the building from being torn down.<ref name="artist"/>

Prevented from running a fourth conservative term as mayor, Atienza's party nominated his son Ali Atienza for the mayoral race, but he was beaten by then Senator Alfredo Lim, Atienza's predecessor as mayor (Lim resigned his Senate seat and Atienza was later appointed by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo as Environment and Natural Resources Secretary). One of Lim's first decisions was to reopen the pedestrian-only section of Rizal Avenue, which has elicited complaints from shopkeepers due to decreased traffic of people, and from commuters which caused traffic jams on secondary streets.<ref name="reopen2"/> Since the cost of the tiles for the pedestrianization was about P40 each, the tiles had been carefully removed for it to be used in future projects.<ref name="reopen"/>

On July 17, 2007, Lim attended the ceremony reopening the closed portion of Rizal Avenue, and it has remained open to this day.<ref name="reopen2"/>

LRT stations along Rizal Avenue

All are Yellow Line stations:

In addition, the LRT Purple Line (LRT-2) crosses the avenue at C.M. Recto Avenue, and the Recto LRT Station is a short walk away from the avenue.

See also


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