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Nov '06

Sudirman-Thamrin case to resume

Accustomed to shady Bandung, Gracia Silaban avoids walking through the sweltering streets of the capital except those in Menteng, Central Jakarta, and Jl. Sudirman.

“I love passing those streets because of the shade trees lining them,” said the avid user of public transportation.

Planting trees to produce shade was the last thing on the minds of Jakarta administration officials when they decided to widen Jl. Sudirman and Jl. Thamrin.

In an effort to reduce traffic congestion in the city and the predicted gridlock by 2014, the administration allocated Rp 30 billion for the removal of hundreds of trees from the area.

On Thursday, the Jakarta Police began their investigation into the road-widening project in response to claims it violates environmental laws.

Earlier in the day, police took the statement of Azas Tigor Nainggolan, the founder of the Caucus for the Environment and chairman of the Jakarta Residents Forum.

The caucus made the report on Oct. 19.

Despite the report against the Sutiyoso administration over the planned extra lane, the roadwork is expected to be finished on Dec. 20.

Jakarta Public Works Agency head Wishnu Subagyo Jusuf said the project would lighten traffic congestion along the two main thoroughfares.

Some 33 banyan trees along Jl. Thamrin are in the process of being moved to Ragunan, South Jakarta, in the first stage of the project.

After being questioned by detectives from the Environment and Resources division of the Jakarta Police Special Crimes Directory, Tigor said the law, as well as the city ordinance on spatial planning, designated the streets as green areas.

According to the ordinance, the city plans to increase green areas to 13.94 percent of city land or 9,544 hectares by 2010, up from 7,319 ha or 10.7 percent in 2005. At present, green areas account for 5,911 ha or 9 percent of city land.

“The problem does not lie in the fact the trees are going to be moved and not cut down. The problem lies in the changing function of the area,” Tigor said.

Firdaus Cahyadi of the Caucus for the Environment said the policy was not in the interests of the general public.

“It only benefits car owners.”

He said solving Jakarta’s traffic problems required improving the city’s public transportation system.

Firdaus said that according to research, done in 2005 by traffic construction company PT Pembangunan Jaya, for every kilometer of additional road there would be 1,923 more cars and 3,000 motorcycles.

“This will increase air pollution levels in the city,” he said.

Sumber :  (Prodita Sabarini) The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

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