Jakarta

Bike lanes occupied by
cars again

Illegal parking: A private car parks in the bike lane that runs from Blok M to Ayodya Park in South Jakarta. The lane was free from private cars for a while, but many private cars have begun using the lane again for parking. JP/Novia D. Rulistia

Almost a year after its inauguration, the city’s first bike lane has again become a parking space for cars.  

Private cars have been seen occupying the lane despite the non-parking signs that are installed along it.

“About a month after it was inaugurated, Satpol PP [Jakarta Public Order Agency] and officers from the transportation agency regularly patrolled the lane to make sure that no cars parked there,” said Slamet, a security official of a commercial building in Melawai. “The bike lane was clear from private cars back then. But as there is no patrol anymore, drivers prefer to park their cars on the street,” he said.

Slamet said that although sometimes he had asked drivers to park in the basement of the building or at the building’s front yard, they refused to do so. “But due to limited parking space and so many cars coming here, we can’t do anything but let them park in the lane.”

Sobari, a parking attendant in Melawai, said that nowadays, the authorities only conducted patrols and asked drivers to immediately move their cars during heavy traffic congestion.

Besides becoming on-street parking space, the lane is also overwhelmed by private cars, public minivans, motorcycles and the three-wheeled bajaj.

In May last year, Governor Fauzi Bowo inaugurated the first bike lane in the city, which stretched 1.4 kilometers from Blok M to Ayodya Park in South Jakarta.

The bike lane was constructed to accommodate the growing number of cyclists in the city, which was predicted to have reached over 6 million people. The administration also provided cyclists with parking space near the park, although no bikes were seen parking there on Monday afternoon.

Many cyclists usually come and gather around the park during weekends or at night.   

South Jakarta Public Order Agency head Sulis said the agency and the transportation agency still conducted patrols around the area, although not as often as before.  “We do still have patrols, but of course we can’t keep an eye on the cars parking there for 24 hours.”

Toto Sugito, the founder of the Bike to Work Community (B2W) said private cars could not be totally blamed for occupying the lane as they might notice that only a few cyclists used the route.

“To my knowledge, not many cyclists use the route, so maybe that’s why many drivers park their cars on the street again,” he said.

After building a bicycle lane in an area of South Jakarta, the Jakarta administration says it will construct other bike lanes in four other municipalities — West Jakarta, East Jakarta, Central Jakarta and North Jakarta.

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