News / Asia

Car-Free Sundays Give Glimpse of Jakarta's Potential

Most days the main thoroughfare in central Jakarta, Indonesia is noisy, polluted and congested with cars and motorcycles, but two Sundays a month, people-powered vehicles own the road
Most days the main thoroughfare in central Jakarta, Indonesia is noisy, polluted and congested with cars and motorcycles, but two Sundays a month, people-powered vehicles own the road

Multimedia

Brian Padden

Most days the main thoroughfare in central Jakarta is noisy, polluted and congested with cars and motorcycles. But two Sundays a month, people-powered vehicles own the road.  A program called Car-Free Sunday is growing in popularity in Indonesia's sprawling capital because it shows what the city could be.

On a typical day, frustrated people stuck in traffic in Jakarta see the city for what it is, a chaotic mega-city. But on Car-Free Sundays the main street in center of the city becomes a people-friendly zone.

Here thousands of bike riders take over the road.  Car-Free Sundays began in 2007 as a once a month environmental program to reduce pollution in Jakarta. Over the years, it has grown in popularity and frequency. It now happens twice a month and the idea has spread to other cities in Indonesia.

In Jakarta, Car-Free Sundays attract not just serious bikers but children learning to ride for the first time, fearless teenagers on spring-loaded stilts, roller skaters, and groups of people on four wheeled bikes or quadricycles. The only motor vehicles allowed on the road are city buses.

Car-Free Sunday has become a place to see and to be seen. Dian and her finance Rian came to get pre wedding pictures taken at this trendy location.

She says they don't want typical romantic pre-wedding pictures. They want something more fun.

Angki and other advocates for rights for the hearing impaired came to increase public awareness about their cause.

She says they chose to come on Car-Free Sunday so as not to cause another traffic jam in Indonesia during the workweek.

The growing popularity of Car-Free Sunday has actually discouraged some serious bike riders like Dida Sarkan.

"We cannot really bike some times [there are] a lot of crowded people and they not really disciplined," said Sarkan.

Jakarta officials have said the program reduces pollution, but urban planner Suryono Herlambang at Tarumanagara University doubts this claim.

He says Car-Free Sunday is an interesting idea, but it does not go far enough to make an impact in a mega city like Jakarta.

Closing one street twice a month, he says, cannot offset the pollution in a city where over a thousand new cars and motorcycles are registered every day. To do that, Herlambang says, the city needs to persuade more people to stop driving, and to rely on mass transit. But Jakarta, a city of over nine million people, currently has a dozen busway corridors with the combined capacity to serve only 500,000 passengers per day. A modern subway system for the city remains in the planning stages.

Car-Free Sunday, though, gives people like Mesa Zihni an idea of what Jakarta could be.

"This is what we are looking for, for the future. Jakarta which is better, no pollution, and more bicycles than cars," said Zihni.

For now this is just a short break from the seemingly constant traffic jam that is life in Jakarta.

You May Like

Karzai's Legacy: Missed Opportunities?

Afghanistan's president leaves behind a much different nation than the one he inherited, yet his legacy from 13 years in power is getting mixed reviews More

US Secret Service Head: White House Security Lapse 'Unacceptable'

Julia Pierson faces tough questions from lawmakers after a recent intrusion at the White House: 'It is clear that our security plan was not executed properly' More

Frustrated, Liberian Students Want Ebola Fight Role

Thousands have volunteered to go to counties, rural villages to talk to people in their language about deadly virus More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihadi
X
Mahi Ramakrishnan
September 30, 2014 2:16 PM
Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Iran's Rouhani Skeptical on Syria Strikes

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed skepticism Friday that U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria could crush Islamic State militants. From New York, VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports the president was also hopeful that questions about Iran’s nuclear program could be resolved soon.
Video

Video US House Speaker: Congress Should Debate Authorization Against IS

As wave after wave of U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State militants, the speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives says he would be willing to call Congress back into session to debate a formal, broad authorization for the use of military force. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington, where legislators left town 10 days ago for a seven-week recess.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Video

Video Ebola Robs Liberians of Chance to Say Good-Bye to Loved Ones

In Liberia, where Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people, authorities have worked hard to convince people to allow specialized burial teams to take away dead bodies. But these safety measures, while necessary, make it hard for people to say good bye to their loved ones. VOA's Anne Look reports on the tragedy from Liberia.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid