Wide sidewalk in Sudirman street.
Let's support the government's goal to build better sidewalks by walking more and using vehicles less. Photos by Raditya Fadilla/NOWJAKARTA

Jakarta’s development concept always prioritises personal vehicle users, making the city far from an ideal pedestrian-friendly city.

To realise Jakarta people’s hope for good sidewalks where they can walk in the city safely, comfortably and efficiently, the Jakarta Provincial Government is massively revitalising sidewalks amid plans to uplift the notorious car-loving city with poor sidewalks to a more pedestrian-friendly city. Revitalisation of the sidewalks has been carried out along 67 kilometres in 2019. The number is targeted to increase in 2020, where 103 kilometres of sidewalks revitalisation has been prepared with an optimal budget of up to IDR 1,1 trillion.

One of the results of the sidewalks revitalisation used as a pilot is the sidewalk on Jalan Sudirman-MH Thamrin that was revitalised in 2017 to 2018. The pedestrian pathway has been designed to be friendly for people with disabilities, including the pelican crossing between the sidewalks on the west and east sides.

Governor Anies Baswedan stated that he would revitalise the sidewalks in the capital multifunctionally and to be used not only by people walking but also for various activities, such as music concerts and a place to sell.

“We want to build sidewalks based on the characteristics, because the roads have varied widths, from six to 30 metres. So, it cannot be partial to build the city. For example, the sidewalks near FX Sudirman Mall are used for music activities, so they can be used a lot. We want Jakarta to be fair to all, not only partially owned,” says the Governor.

The Jakarta Bina Marga Agency is now focusing its works in five areas, Kemang, Jalan Satrio, Cikini as well as Keramat and Senen. Furthermore, the revitalisation also covers Jalan Otista Raya in East Jakarta, Jalan Latumenten Raya in West Jakarta and the west part of Sunter Lake in North Jakarta.

Even so, in a policy there are unintended policy consequences. The purpose is to widen sidewalks policy that was initiated by the Governor who wants to increase the number of public transport users and give pedestrian the right as well as integrate intermodal transportation emerge the most annoying impact for the citizens: traffic jams.

In the Cikini-Kramat Raya area, vehicle lanes are also reduced to only seven meters wide. In Cikini, the sidewalks revitalization project is accompanied by excavation carried out by PLN, causing severe traffic jams. In Kemang area also has a similar impact, congestion due to demolition carried out simultaneously on both sides of the road. The roads become even narrower, so that passing vehicles must take turns because the road can only be passed by one car. This happens due to lack of coordination between the parties concerned, no cross-sectoral coordination.

Congestion occurs not only during rush hours and makes many motorcyclists choose to drive on the sidewalks. This is contrary to the purpose of the policy. In fact, the World Bank stated that congestion caused a loss of IDR 56 trillion for Indonesia in a year. While in DKI Jakarta alone, losses due to congestion are estimated at 2.6 billion US dollars or around IDR 36.8 trillion.

Congestion is not only due to lack of road infrastructure, but also because of the indiscipline of road users and low law enforcement. Policies that have a negative impact on implementation need to be reviewed so as not to aggravate the situation. The Jakarta Provincial Government should have a program related to the construction of additional road lengths, compared to widening the sidewalks and reducing road capacity. In addition, the government must provide adequate public transportation first before widening the road.

This article is originally from paper. Read NOW!Jakarta Magazine January 2020 issue “In with the New”. Available at selected bookstores or SUBSCRIBE here.

NOW! Jakarta

NOW! Jakarta

The article is produced by editorial team of NOW!Jakarta