Biking in the Metropolis

It is heartening to spot more bike-parking facilities in the metropolis. It exists now at Akasara Book store in Kemang. And I just reported one at Plaza Indonesia’s south east gate to www.klikjkt.or.id . This kikjkt is an crowdsourcing website to record locations of good or bad things in the metropolis. Try it, share your knowledge about the metropolis for the benefit of all. It is fun.  It also reports that Pondok Indah Mall has already installed some bike-parking racks earlier. Someone just tweeted that thet exists also in Pejaten Vilage. This “village” is another mall, right?

Well, see, the malls are always the quickest in responding to “all” our need.  It is really an iconic example of how captalism via consumptivism is always capable of transforming itself to respond to any criticism or need, said my friend, Suryono Herlambang, a professor at a planning school in West Jakarta. He has been studying the malls for the last five years. Among his discoveries: all the malls have Floor Area Ratios (FAR’s) that are higher than those originally sanctioned in the city plan, before they are “revised” to fit the requests from the developers.

But at the Plaza Indonesia, there is a detail: the bike-parking racks were marked “B2W”. Does it mean that they actualy beong to B2W instead of the management of the plaza?

Bike-parking facilities in Kemang could really reduce cars usage along the main Kemang street. Potentially those who live nearby or within the neighbourhood could refrain from using cars just to shop or have lunch or dinner in the shops or restaurants along the street. Of course, there is a big possibility that some would say, “Well, I don’t want to bike, because I don’t want to inhale the emissions from those cars and metromini’s..!”

The malls are providing the bike-racks because they want to entertain their clients. What about governments? Shouldn’t they entertain their tax-payers? Why can’t we have bike racks in public buildings? Of course, they should also start planning seriously bike lanes. I emphasised the word “seriously”, because bicycling is a serious solution for our common future with finite resources.

Some cities’s population started biking en-masse for fun during weekends. They think it is cool and trendy. See what is happening in Makassar, for example. Of course, if it is only for recreational purpose, it is not going to save the earth. But, it could be a good start.

Well, the governments may think that their tax income will be reduced if we buy and use less cars. But perhaps they could think about taxing the bikes, which the colonial government did a long time ago? Taxing would mean a new “contract” between citizens and their governments. I wouldn’t mind if the collected tax is earmarked for environmentally-friendly projects. Mind us, that less cars would also mean reduced infrastructure and health costs. In the mean time, new business is emerging. A small example: bike shops, that had almost totally disappeared 5 years ago, are now reemerging en masse, too.  I recently said to a working group that is writing a report for the International Panel for Sustainable Resource Management, that transition towards sustainability is not about reducing (consumption), but about substituting.

This entry was posted in Communities, governance, Jakarta, Nature and Environment, Urban Development, Urban Life, Urban Planning and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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