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A Tourism Cycle

Bali Capital of Denpasar Promises to Expand and Improve Bicycle Lane Network

(5/6/2013) The Bali Daily (Jakarta Post) reports Denpasar’s Bicycle Paths are slated for revitalization, having fallen into decline since they were first launched with much fanfare in 2010.

Promoted as a way of reducing both traffic congestion and pollution, a 16.4-kilometer stretch of curbside bike paths were originally marked with painted lines and identified with suitable signage. In the intervening three years plans to expand the network were feared to have been largely forgotten and the bike paths are now blocked by parked cars and motorcycles.

Denpasar Transportation Agency’s traffic division head, Nyoman Sustiawan, said that hope still remains that the bike lane network will be revitalized and expanded, saying: 

“There has not been any maintenance budget for the bike lanes in the past few years. However, this year, we expect to get some Rp 100-200 million (US$10,250-$20,500) from the revised provincial budget. The sum will be used for maintenance of the fading lanes and maybe extending the lanes to a length of some 20 km.”
Plans are to add lanes in areas surrounding schools, tourist area, markets and shopping areas of the city. Lanes are planned along Jl. Gunung Agung, Jl. Teuku Umar and Jl. Imam Bonjol.

Sustiawan explained how efforts to expand bike paths in Denpasar were complicated by factors of limitation of space on already congested streets. “We are unable to enforce regulations that ban on-street parking, because we receive little backup from the traffic police,” he said.

“Most walkways (sidewalks) also end up as parking space, anyway,” he lamented. Citing examples, he pointed to Jl. Gajah Mada and Jl. Kamboja – two streets that have wide sidewalks that are now used instead for off-street parking.

Bali is largely an unfriendly destination for pedestrians with a low level of “walkability” in the man downtown areas of the city. City officials in Bali cite Pattaya in Thailand as an example where good governance can make a real difference by banning traffic in certain areas and providing viable public transport alternatives.