Transportation experts criticized the construction of two new toll roads near North Jakarta’s congested Tanjung Priok port on Tuesday, calling the plan an ineffective solution to the capital’s traffic woes.
The Jakarta administration plans to build two toll roads connecting Semanan with Sunter and Tanjung Priok with Sunter and Pulo Gebang in a bid to remove trucks from city streets. The new arteries will also feature dedicated commuter bus lanes as part of the administration’s push for increased ridership on Jakarta’s public transportation lines.
But experts warn that building new roads won’t solve Jakarta’s traffic problems.
“In the end these toll roads will be used by private vehicles anyway, so it won’t solve the [city’s] logistical problems,” Jakarta Transportation Council [DTKJ] chairman Azas Tigor Nainggolan said.
Azas called on the government to extend the Jakarta Outer Ring Road to Tanjung Priok and keep port traffic away from the city.
“The Jakarta Outer Ring Road is more suitable for trucks,” he said.
The Jakarta chapter of the Indonesian Transportation Society (MTI) doubted the capital could guarantee that only trucks heading to the port would use the new toll roads.
“The toll road to the airport in Cengkareng, it is not only used by people heading to the airport,” said Tri Tjahjono, head of the Jakarta MTI. “The same thing will happen with the Tanjung Priok toll roads. It will still be jammed.”
The organization urged the government to focus on expanding the capital’s mass transit options instead of building new roads.
Deputy Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama announced the new toll roads on Monday, explaining that these roads will only be for long-distance travelers and that the accompanying bus lanes would serve as commuter extensions of the TransJakarta system.
“We will have bus lines as well, that is the priority,” Basuki said. “Private vehicles will be allowed to use the toll roads, but there won’t be exits every kilometer. The exits will be available every six or seven kilometers [instead].”
Transportation experts remained unconvinced.
While the roads could expand Jakarta’s bus system, the construction of new toll roads won’t prevent on traffic jams, Tri said.
“A toll road can be useful if there is a missing link in the transportation network, or if we don’t have enough arteries,” he said. “But using toll roads to reduce traffic congestion? I don’t think it’s going to work.”