October 21, 2008

Jakarta Carves Out Walkways, Bike Lanes

Jakarta will soon see trial integrated pedestrian and bicycle lanes in the city, one of the city’s planned efforts to reduce carbon emissions.

Landscape architect Nirwono Joga said Monday the lanes would be delineated along the green belts beside riverbanks and rail lines and under overpasses.

“Creating bikeways and pedestrian lanes is actually much easier than constructing lanes for buses because we only need to mark lanes with signs indicating they are for bikes and pedestrians,” he said during a media gathering held Monday by the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP).

“All we still need is the administration’s political will, which currently is lacking,” he said.

Dedicated green lanes will afford more safety and comfort to those who choose walking and bicycling in the city, Joga said.

As a consultant to the city parks agency, Joga is currently working on a pilot project for creating an urban park network, in which green corridors will connect one city park to another.

Jakarta boasts a total of 800 city parks.

“The connecting green lanes will serve as both pedestrian and cycler lanes in the city,” Joga said, citing the 3-kilometer lane connecting Suropati Park on Jl. Diponegoro, and National Monument (Monas) Park on Jl. Medan Merdeka, both in Central Jakarta.

He mentioned various pedestrian lanes suited for upgrade to bikeways within the planned park network: the Menteng area, which connects Suropati, Situ Lembang and Menteng parks; the Blok M-Kota corridor; and Kebayoran Baru’s set of integrated parks and activity hubs like Blok M, Pasar Mayestik, Pasar Santa, Taman Ayodya, Taman Barito and Taman Puring.

“This pilot project will be launched in November. We are currently in the process of painting the signs to designate the bike and pedestrian routes.”

Joga said no master plan had yet been created for non-motorized transportation, namely bicycles, despite the existence of a 1992 law on thoroughfares.

Meanwhile, the ITDP and the Bike to Work organization together consider a better appreciation of bicycles as a means of transportation an urgent need; cyclists do have equal rights vis-*-vis motorized vehicles.

“It’s high time the busway system integrates with the non-motorized transportation modes, including walking and cycling,” ITDP deputy country director Restiti Sekartini said.

“This integration will help the public shift from using private vehicles to using the busway,” she said, adding the non-profit organization was putting together a pedestrian map detailing routes along and around busway corridors.

Toto Soegito from Bike to Work said, “the bicycle is still perceived as a second-class mode of transportation.” The group currently has some 5,000 members in the capital, and 5,000 more who have recently joined in cities besides Jakarta.

Jakarta governor Fauzi Bowo has said he would provide public infrastructure for bicycles only once 1,000,000 bikers were recorded in the city.

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Jakarta Carves Out Walkways, Bike Lanes

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