Jakartans walk the walk to regain their pavement

Mon Apr 2, 2012 7:18am EDT
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article | Single Page
[-] Text [+]

By Michael Taylor

JAKARTA (Reuters) - Car and motorbike sales in Indonesia's chaotic capital far outpace the building of new roads, meaning traffic in Jakarta soon grinds to a halt - leaving motorists to battle it out among themselves for what few shortcuts can be found.

During rush hours especially, rules go out of the window as cars constantly beep horns and switch lanes. Motorbikes play a game of chicken with pedestrians on the crumbling pavements.

But one group of pedestrians has decided enough is enough.

Koalisi Pejalan Kaki, or Pedestrian Coalition, is a direct action group that was established last July in an attempt to reclaim sidewalks from motorbikes and street vendors.

"Our first action was inspired by my daughter, who asked me 'why are the motorcyclists passing through the sidewalk, daddy?'" said group coordinator Anthony Ladjar. "I won't let them negatively educate my daughter, so we started a movement."

Each Friday, the group of 20 to 30 people picks an area in Jakarta where motorcyclists and food vendors can be seen using pavements and forcing pedestrians onto the roads.

For an hour they gather on a pavement to stage silent protests with placards reading "Sidewalks for pedestrians" or "Sidewalks are not for motorbikes."

During the first protest in Jakarta's Kota district, Ladjar blocked the pavement by lying on the ground.   Continued...

A woman walks on a pavement while motorists drive through next to her in South Jakarta April 2, 2012. REUTERS/Enny Nuraheni