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May 29, 2017

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Experts warn of more traffic woes for Jakarta

With four mega transportation projects in Jakarta in the offing, urban transportation experts have predicted chaotic traffic if no anticipatory measures from the city administration and the central government are taken.

Indonesian Transportation Society (MTI) Chairman Danang Parikesit said on Wednesday the government should start taking strategic steps to overcome expected adverse effects during the construction of the monorail, Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) system, three Transjakarta bus corridors and elevated railway loop lines.

Danang said traffic would be chaotic if the administration did not involve all related agencies — handling transportation, public works and housing — as well as private firms in finding a solution to ease the traffic.

"They need to form an inter-sectoral project management unit that will supervise both construction and the traffic," he said.

Although the impact should not be underestimated, Danang said, all the projects should start immediately as the city is in dire need of better public transportation to overcome worsening congestion.

Without proper public transportation, Jakarta is expected to suffer from total gridlock by 2014, as the number of vehicles on the road has risen 11.26 percent every year, while the number of new roads has only increased 0.01 percent annually.

"(The impact) will be harsh. We must deal with it together," he said.

Transportation observer Darmaningtyas said the city should provide alternative roads and increase existing public transportation, so motorists could make the switch.

'Public transportation routes should be free from the effects of construction,' he said, adding the construction could be carried out at night or during weekends if located on public transportation routes.

Darmaningtyas also pointed out the importance of disseminating information to traffic users, saying the city should inform the public of traffic detours at least a month before construction began.

Consortium PT Jakarta Monorel (JM) plans to break ground on the long-stalled monorail project on October 16.

'The first phase of the project will start on Jl. HR Rasuna Said in South Jakarta,' JM technical director R. Bovananto said.

He added the company would start with the green line, with 16 stations, extending 14.27 kilometers (km) from Komdak to Satria Mandala Museum, both in South Jakarta.

The blue line, stretching from Kampung Melayu in East Jakarta to Roxy in West Jakarta, would commence later.

Bovananto said the company would coordinate with the city transportation agency to discuss the traffic issue.

Similar to the monorail, the MRT construction project, connecting Lebak Bulus in South Jakarta with the Hotel Indonesia traffic circle in Central Jakarta, will also begin in October.

Meanwhile, the central government's 10-km eastern elevated train loop line, connecting North Jakarta's Kampung Bandan with Central Jakarta's Kemayoran-Senen and East Jakarta's Pondok Jati route.

As well as the city's Transjakarta corridors serving Ciledug in Banten-Blok M in South Jakarta; Manggarai Station-the University of Indonesia in South Jakarta; Blok M-Pondok Kelapa in East Jakarta, will commence early next year.

Commenting on the issue, Jakarta Deputy Governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama said the city administration would endure all consequences of the development as the administration had committed to providing adequate public transportation at all costs.

"If we lose voters in the next election because of traffic jams caused by the project, let it be," he said, adding that the administration would take steps to minimize the impact.

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