APSN Banner

Protest mounts as Heru Budi turns sidewalk into road in South Jakarta

Tempo - April 17, 2023

Mutia Yuantisya, Jakarta – Jakarta Acting Governor Heru Budi Hartono's policy of paving the sidewalk into road at Simpang Santa, South Jakarta, is met with criticism voiced by many, including the Bike to Work cyclist community and the Pedestrian Coalition.

Chairperson of Bike To Work Indonesia Fahmi Saimima said that the development of bike lanes in Jakarta is the most progressive in the world so it should have been maintained and even expanded massively throughout the city.

"Everything Jakarta does will become a benchmark for other cities, not only in Indonesia but also in Southeast Asia," said Fahmi in a written statement, Sunday, April 16.

Apart from being a marker of the progress of urban civilization, bicycle paths are highly effective in controlling congestion and vehicle emissions.

However, it is very unfortunate that the long road to making the capital a livable, accessible, and low-emission city is destroyed in one night. Heru Budi's policy of managing Simpang Santa, precisely on Jalan Wolter Monginsidi-Jalan Suryo-Jalan Wijaya, South Jakarta, has had an impact on the loss of bicycle lanes and pedestrian sidewalks.

Alfred Sitorus, the chairman of the Pedestrian Coalition, also expressed similar criticism. According to him, demolishing sidewalks into roads is clearly a setback.

"What has been developed by the city administration should be maintained so that the community is properly facilitated to take advantage of non-motorized mobility (NMT), especially walking," he explained.

Greenpeace environmental and energy activist, Bondan Andriyanu, said the removal of bicycle lanes and pedestrian facilities at Simpang Santa contradicted the mandate of the Central Jakarta District Court's ruling which granted a civil lawsuit over Jakarta's air pollution.

"The NMT facility should have been expanded in order to realize air quality improvement as mandated by the Central Jakarta District Court," Bondan said.

According to Deliani Siregar from the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP), the density of motorized vehicles in the area is not due to a lack of space, but rather the rising number of vehicles used.

He argued that adding roads for motorized vehicles has never been a solution to overcome congestion. Adding roads, such as by changing sidewalks to roads, would actually invite people to use their private vehicles and is part of the dependency cycle on private vehicle use in the city.

Source: https://en.tempo.co/read/1715959/protest-mounts-as-heru-budi-turns-sidewalk-into-road-in-south-jakart