Bali Governor Wayan Koster has requested that the public stop complaining about traffic jams on the island. Last week, the provincial leader addressed an audience at the Art Center in Denpasar. His speech was a celebration and review of the 4-year leadership of the Koster-Ace administration.
In his speech, Koster acknowledged that hotel occupancy is averaging 65% in Bali’s most popular areas. In some areas of Badung Regency, hotels are filled to over 90% consistently. He said restaurants are also filling up, with beaches and roads becoming busier too. He said, ‘It used to be quiet, we enjoyed traveling, now we are starting to complain [about the traffic]. Don’t complain, because if it’s crowded, it means the economy is alive.’
@mind.ful.travel Bring back the pole #canggu #bali #shortcut #canggushortcut #canggupole #canggubali #scooter #traffic ♬ WE CANNOT ESCAPE WE CANNOT COME OUT – Emile Morgan
Governor Koster went on to share his gratitude that the economy in Bali is bouncing back, especially in the tourism sector. He explained that Bali has returned to being a ‘safe, comfortable, and conducive tourist destination’. He invited the audience to give a round of applause for tourism.
He highlighted how the economy is growing again after a period of negative growth during the pandemic. He shared that the economy experienced negative growth of -9.31% in 2020 and -2.47% in 2021. Yet Bali’s economy had grown positively in 2022. Koster shared his hopes that by the end of 2022, economic growth will be close to 3.5%.
@omlyalya #ubudstreet #ubud #ubudbali #ubudlife #bali #baliroads ♬ You Give Me Something – Jamiroquai
His comments about the traffic jams on the island come as a response to very public complaints about the issue of congestion in increasingly busy parts of the island. Footage shared on social media by local drivers and tourists shows regular backlogs of vehicles along roads between key tourist destinations. Canggu has famously been battling traffic congestion since the area underwent rapid development in the last 5-7 years.
Once a quiet coastal village, Canggu is now one of the busiest areas of Bali. While development has boomed in terms of buildings, little has been invested in upscaling the area’s infrastructure. Roads and pathways originally built to support a few dozen cars or people carriers an hour, along with local moped riders, are now contending with major rush hour traffic jams and complete gridlock at peak times.
@babyttiandra Bali traffic be crazy but its still something i like about it ❤️ #fyp #bali #uluwatu #balitraffic ♬ Long Nights – 6LACK
Local senators have called on the provincial government to review development budgets to investigate whether more funds can be assigned to road infrastructural improvements in busy tourist areas like Canggu.
In early August, at the Bali Regional Governments Budget meeting, I Wayan Sandra, the chairman of the Badung DPRD, called on the provincial government to assign more money for improvements to road and wastewater management in Canggu. Though his requests were heard, no further discussion about increasing funds for the area will be had until next year’s budget.
Likewise, in Bali’s cultural capital Ubud, traffic jams have noticeably re-appeared in the last six weeks or so. Although voted the best city in Asia in 2022, Ubud has an opportunity to improve for both locals and tourists. Though, like Governor Koster, many local business owners in Ubud told reporters that they saw the return of traffic jams as a positive sign.
Gusti Ketut Keramas told reporters in August that ‘…there must be traffic jams. There’s nothing wrong with traffic jams, as long as there are officers who can manage them properly. Yes, we have to understand each other on the highway’.
Governor Koster’s request to the public to look on the bright side is backed up by new policy announcements. On Thursday, 29th September told audiences at the Indonesian Electric Motor Show in Jakarta that he will be creating electric vehicle-only zones in 2023. He hopes that this will not only tackle the issue of congestion by encouraging people to put more conscious thought into their travel arrangements but will reduce pollution in these areas too.
Speaking at the event last week, Koster confirmed that these electric vehicle-only zones will include Nusa Dua, Sanur, Denpasar, Ubud, and Nusa Penida. However, there was no specific mention of new zoning policies for Canggu.
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