Jakarta. The city administration will widen the sidewalks on Jalan Sudirman in South Jakarta and also ban all motorcycles from this major thoroughfare to encourage more people to start using public transportation.
Jakarta Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama said the six-lane Jalan Sudirman will lose one lane and its sidewalks will be widened to up to 9.5 meters at some spots. As a consequence, all motorcycles will be barred from entering the busy street. It is unclear, however, when the restriction will be implemented.
Basuki said by widening the sidewalks and barring motorcycles from the street, people will be more inclined to use public transport. At the moment, commuters have to enter the road from the existing narrow sidewalk and dodge a barrage of approaching motorcycles – which show no respect for pedestrians – just to hop on a bus.
Barring motorcycles on the street will also reduce the number of motorcyclists using the sidewalk as an emergency parking lot and as a shortcut when the road is jammed with traffic.
Basuki said that with the construction of the country's first underground mass rapid transit (MRT) system on the way, wider sidewalks will be necessary to make life easier for pedestrians and public-transport users who want to transfer to other forms of transportation.
"If we keep battling traffic by adding more roads, we will never win against [the influx] of cars," Basuki said on Monday (18/04), as quoted by Antara news agency. "We will widen the sidewalk so people can get in and off buses safely and comfortably."
The MRT system is scheduled to be operational by 2018. Basuki said pedestrians can in the meantime make use of the 600 new TransJakarta buses introduced on Monday to connect the capital and its suburbs, as well as for traveling along TransJakarta's main routes, which also include Jalan Sudirman.
The wider sidewalks and ban on motorcycles will compensate for the planned scrapping of the city's 3-in-1 carpooling system, which bars private cars with fewer than three occupants from entering some of Jakarta's main thoroughfares during rush hours.
Basuki said officials anticipate an increase in the number of cars passing through Jalan Sudirman without 3-in-1. Banning motorcycles from the road is expected to help reduce traffic congestion along this major road.
The carpooling system has been criticized for being an ineffective measure to reduce the city's traffic, merely shifting congestion to other roads where the system is not in place as well as encouraging the presence of passengers-for-hire, known as jockeys, to thwart the system.
Jakarta Police traffic chief Sr. Comr. Risyapudin said his office agrees that motorcycles should be barred from Jalan Sudirman.
A similar restriction is now in place on the adjacent Jalan Thamrin in Central Jakarta, which Risyapudin said is enough to persuade more people working there to use public transportation.