March 25, 2013

Getting Parking Right in Jakarta’s Pasar Baru

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In early 2013, the head of the Jakarta Transportation Agency announced that parking would be better managed in Pasar Baru—a popular, historic shopping area that draws hundreds of local and regional customers each week. Parking in Pasar Baru is everywhere: along curbsides, on sidewalks, perpendicular to streets and in scattered in setbacks. Motorbikes outpace private cars in parking demand—with nearly one third of the on-street motorbike parking supply inside the Pasar Baru pedestrian zone. ITDP is collecting baseline data to help assure the success of the new scheme that the government decides to implement. A pilot on-street payment project in Pasar Baru could help roll out a better payment collection system across all of Jakarta.

On-street parking is run by a loose collection of independent operators known as “blue guys,” alluding to their blue uniforms. To prevent trouble, drivers have little choice but to pay them an unregulated fee. The blue guys direct cars into a parking space and also serve as perceived security for the car or motorbike. Drivers leave their vehicles in neutral so the blue guys can push them around to make more space and maximize profits, if possible. Often drivers need to negotiate the parking price with blue guys when leaving a space—as payment is always made at the end. The general cost is 2,000-3,000 Rupiah, but the true charge is left up to the discretion of the blue guys. Drivers sometimes pay a higher than anticipated cost to avoid confrontation and argument.

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Enforcement of parking, a challenging task in most developing countries, is handled by three groups: the transport agency, police and a semi-private security bureau under the Mayor’s office known as Linmas. Resale of cars presents a problem for enforcement, as it becomes difficult to track registration. The Transportation Agency is tasked with patrolling and cracking down on illegal parking, yet they have no legal right to issue fines. The police, and Linmas have the authority to do this as well, but never do. Shopkeepers pay Linmas monthly to provide security to the area, but the Limnas guys also accept kickbacks for parking—thereby allowing for the quality of the shopping district to erode, especially in the pedestrian zone.

Improving parking management in Pasar Baru presents opportunities to bring high quality greenways and better pedestrian circulation to the district. Shifting some of the on-street parking demand to underutilized public off-street parking garages can be done most immediately with proper pricing and enforcement. The results of ITDPs baseline study will likely demonstrate how this might be most beneficial to the area. In the process, the enforcement challenge will need to be resolved.

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