September 12, 2008

Other Areas Try Out Car-Free Idea in Jakarta

The city administration is considering organizing a weekly car-free day in several areas of the capital on a rotating basis in an effort to reduce air pollution.

Currently, the city holds one car-free day every month.

Governor Fauzi Bowo said Thursday the plan might set aside the section of Jl. Sudirman from the Senayan traffic circle in South Jakarta to the Hotel Indonesia traffic circle as well as some areas in Kota in Central Jakarta.

“The streets will be closed to motorists from about 6 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. We, however, are still discussing the program with the Jakarta’s environmental management board (BPLHD),” said Fauzi.

“By making car-free day routine, we hope to raise people’s awareness about the importance of reducing the heavy air pollution in the city. Hopefully, the idea can go into effect next year,” he said.

The next car-free day will take place on Jl. Pramuka in East Jakarta on Sunday.

BPLHD head Budirama Natakusumah said the thoroughfare would be closed to motorists from the Ahmad Yani intersection to the Matraman overpass from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Similar to the car-free days held on Jl. Sudirman and Jl. Thamrin each month, the car-free day on Jl. Pramuka will only allow access to public transportation, such as Transjakarta buses and Metromini minivans.

He said the administration would rotate the car-free day program among the five municipalities in the Jakarta jurisdiction.

“It would be great to organize this program in all five areas at once, but we can’t do that due to the lack of mobile laboratories for testing air quality,” said Budirama as reported by kompas.com.

“There is only one mobile lab which we borrowed from the State Minister for the Environment,” he said.

Jakarta’s first car-free day was held on Sept. 22, 2002, on Jl. Sudirman, limiting vehicles from the Senayan traffic circle in South Jakarta to the Hotel Indonesia traffic circle in Central Jakarta.

It was organized once in 2003, twice in 2004, once again in 2005 and three times in 2007. In 2008, it has been held every month.

There was no car-free day in 2006 because the city administration was reviewing a municipal bylaw on the program.

In July 2008, car-free day was held on Jl. Letjen. Suprapto for the first time.

The Central Jakarta administration chose that location because it fit the seven requirements for a car-free day site.

The requirements include low air quality during peak traffic hours, a length of more than two kilometers, existing public transportation routes and the presence of offices, trade centers and residential areas.

Car-free days often draw complaints from drivers because they cause congestion along other roads.

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Other Areas Try Out Car-Free Idea

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