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Road to nowhere: The bicycle parking racks and bus shelter on the bank of the East Flood Canal in East Jakarta remain unused on Thursday. The city administration has not yet completed the construction of public services in the area, including an exclusive lane for cyclists. (JP/Fikri Z. Muhammadi)
The city administration will soon complete the construction of what is claimed to be Jakarta’s longest bike lane along the East Flood Canal (BKT), amid complaints by local bike lovers over the path’s quality.
The Jakarta Transportation Agency has begun erecting road signs and painting marks along a 6.7-kilometer stretch of the 23.5-kilometer canal, which runs from Cipinang Besar Selatan to Malaka Sari in Duren Sawit in East Jakarta.
The project is expected to be completed by the end of this year at the latest, officials say.
Bike To Work Community chairman Toto Sugito criticized the city’s Transportation Agency for not seeking input from experts and cyclists in the construction of new bike lane.
“We have never been asked for our opinions,” he told The Jakarta Post on Thursday.
Toto said he found out that the bike lane was not paved with blocks, but with concrete, which would make it slippery or even flooded on rainy days.
The four-lane path along the canal will serve traffic in both directions, with the two outer lanes designated for pedestrians, and the inner two lanes for cyclists. Beginning at Jl. Basuki Rachmat, the path will span 6.7 kilometers before ending at Jl. Jendral Polisi Sukanto.
Since the pedestrian and the bicycle lanes are adjacent to one another, Toto said that safety measures should have been implemented so that bikers would not harm the walkers.
“Other than that, I think the parking spots for bikes are below standard too,” he said, adding that they could actually damage bicycles.
Despite the shortcomings, Toto said he still applauded the administration’s decision to build the bike lane, which had been planned since 2009. “The plan was to construct a lane that’s integrated with train stations and busway [TransJakarta] shelters,” he said. “We do appreciate this, and hope that bikers in the city will enjoy it too.”
The establishment of this pathway adds to the existing Taman Ayodya-Blok M bike path in South Jakarta, making them the only two in the capital.
The South Jakarta path, however, has never been used by bikers.
Cycling enthusiast Bagus, 24, said he enjoyed the newly constructed bike path as it had been made quite beautifully. “Besides that, this is a specially designated lane for bikers, separated from the roads. So it will be safer for us [cyclists],” he said.
The Transportation Agency said it was now in the final stages of the construction process.
“The 6.7-kilometer bike path will be finished by December. If the government agrees, we will extend it to 22 kilometers, all the way up to Marunda, North Jakarta,” agency head Udar Pristono said.
Udar said the government had allocated Rp 1.7 billion (US$176,630) for the first phase of construction. “We will officially launch it in December and monitor the site for the first month. After that, we hope that the people, especially biking communities, can assist us to supervise it and give us feedback,” he said.
Udar said the agency had also talked to the police to prevent motorists, moreover cars and buses, from entering the designated pathway.
The official said that the city planned to expand the parks and plant more trees along the sides of the canal, a move Toto welcomed.
“I hope the trees will help reduce the potential for flooding along the path.” (fzm)