The Jakarta Post
The Jakarta administration has set a target of laying paved sidewalks alongside all roads in the city by the end of next year in a bid to provide security and comfort to pedestrians.
The total length of sidewalks in the capital is currently only 900 kilometers, compared to 7,200 kilometers of roads.
'We lack sidewalks and this situation disadvantages pedestrians,' Public Works Agency head Manggas Rudy Siahaan told The Jakarta Post on Sunday.
Manggas said that the lives of pedestrians in the city were currently endangered by motorists as many motorcyclists also used the sidewalks as a way to escape traffic congestion.
He said that the sidewalks would be around 8 meters wide, and would have barriers at both ends to prevent vehicles from mounting them. The agency will also plant trees along the curb to provide shade in the absence of canopies.
The agency has planned that the sidewalks will also be amenable to the visually impaired as they will have ridged tracks along the center as guides.
Manggas said that his teams in the five municipalities were currently mapping the roads that did not have sidewalks.
Governor Joko 'Jokowi' Widodo recently described the condition of the sidewalks in the capital as 'inhumane', as they failed to provide safety for pedestrians.
Jokowi said that the repairs and construction would start soon, with the priority being the sidewalks along Jl. Gatot Subroto, which runs through South and Central Jakarta.
As for Jl. Sudirman and Jl. MH Thamrin in Central Jakarta, the administration is currently discussing with the owners and management of nearby buildings about the possibility of requisitioning land for the widening of sidewalks.
At the moment the sidewalks are only a maximum of 3 meters wide.
Deputy Governor Basuki 'Ahok' Tjahaja Purnama was quoted as saying by kompas.com on Saturday that his team had written to the owners and was still awaiting responses from them.
Transportation expert from the University of Indonesia, Tri Tjahjono, lauded the plan and said that the construction would support the governor's moves to promote public transportation.
'Pedestrians always consider the 'first and last miles' the most important, that is how they can get to the nearest public transportation from their homes and reach their destinations after alighting,' he said.
'Sidewalks that are comfortable can allow them to walk instead of opting to use private vehicles,' he added.
Tri said that the administration must consider the 'continuity' of the sidewalks as well. 'Sidewalks should be as long as possible, don't let anything curtail them,' he said.
He said that this method had long been implemented by neighboring country Singapore. 'Even some areas in Surabaya [East Java] already have comfortable and safe pedestrian facilities,' he said.
Meanwhile, transportation observer from Soegijapranata Catholic University, Djoko Setijowarno, said that the capital lagged behind leading global metropolitan areas when it came to sidewalks.
To support the construction plan, Djoko said that the administration would consider building small stores and placing benches along the sidewalks.
'For those who are tired after a long walk, this would very helpful,' he said.
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