Ubud is one of Bali’s most popular tourist destinations. Home to spectacular palaces, ancient temples, and some of the country’s best restaurants, it is easy to see why the town never goes out of fashion.
The topic of traffic and tourism has hit the headlines once again recently. Ubud, even in low season, feels busier than ever before. The intersecting one-way traffic system within the center of the town is feeling increasingly congested. Local leaders are proposing some drastic changes to ensure that tourists can make the most of their time in Ubud.
Local senator I Wayan Gede Sudarta has told reporters that he and his teams are looking to explore how to improve the conditions on the road as soon as possible. He is also calling on the provincial government to step in and provide resources to help ease congestion.
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Sudarta said, “It has become a classic problem. The government must come up with a short-term solution.” Noting that traffic jams at peak times can start in the center of town and sprawl back into the surrounding villages, Sudarta said, “It’s as if we’ve been surrounded by traffic jams.”
While locals, long-stay visitors, and traffic officers are beginning to tire of the rigmarole of long traffic jams in Ubud, hope is not lost. Sudarta and his teams are proposing a two-fold solution.
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Solution one; make the whole of central Ubud a flowing one-way traffic system instead of intersecting one-way systems as is the case now.
Solution two; establish open and closing hours for traffic so that peak flow traffic can be closely engineered and controlled.
He explained, “If necessary, only make one direction. The government must have the technical means so that traffic jams can be unraveled,”
Sudarta also echoed statements made by local leaders in Ubud earlier this month. He noted that more must be done to tackle illegal parking in central Ubud too.
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These solutions, if carefully designed and managed, would no doubt make a huge difference to tourists’ experience of Ubud. And let’s be fair.
It will make a huge difference to local people, too; although Ubud is a world-famous tourist destination, the town is also home to thousands of local residents who need to be able to access their community facilities and resources easily.
Sudarta concluded his statements to the press with a final plea. “Don’t let Ubud be abandoned just because tourists linger in traffic jams.”
Sudarta’s calls for action have been listened to. The Acting Head of the Gianyar Regency Transportation Office, I Wayan Suamba, said that traffic officers who stand at Ubud’s busiest junctions have also called for an urgent review of the situation.
Suamba revealed ‘as soon as noon, [officers] are allowed to pull over because of the scorching heat, provided the [roads] are under constant attention.”
When asked to respond to the changes proposed by Sudarta and his teams, Suamba said that all potential solutions would be reviewed.
The issue is being taken seriously, and we can expect to see changes sooner rather than later. In mid-February, local leaders in Ubud came together to design a solution for the issue of illegal parking in central Ubud that has a direct impact on the flow of traffic.
Speaking at the time, Police Chief Sejati said, “we are studying cooperation with the Department of Transportation…In the near future, we will definitely take action. [We will have] standby personnel from morning to night. The patrol team will comb the Ubud area in coordination with the [police].”
As the traffic issue is resolved in Ubud, tourists are still encouraged to visit. While it is true that the traffic is a bit of a hassle at times, it should not be a reason to miss out on a visit to Bali’s cultural capital.
As local leaders come together to restructure the traffic system, tourists can implement an easy solution of their own…just allow a little extra time to get about and enjoy the sights and sounds of this incredible Balinese town.
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