Tensions in Canggu are rising as the issue of traffic gets evermore contentious. Tired of sitting in gridlock, local residents have started taking to social media to voice their complaints against the local government in Bali. While the provincial government has responded, some are concerned that any efforts will fall into the category of too little too late for Bali’s congestion crisis.
One local driver, Gede Kus, took to Instagram to vent his frustration at the traffic around Berawa Beach in Canggu. He captioned a video of the traffic jam with a plea to local government representatives.” Please pay attention to the infrastructure in the Jalan Pantai Berawa area, Badung, Bali, for the convenience of the public and tourism guests! Why should it have been prioritized until now? Shame on you!”. His post was met with support from fellow drivers in the area who shared their frustration at the situation.
Kus is not the only driver to have turned to social media in a bid to get more eyes on the issue. Wayan “Gendo” Suardana has boldly criticized the local transportation agencies for the situation on the roads. Suardana shared his feelings “It seems that infrastructure matters in Canggu and its surroundings have not been completed long ago, have they? Even though this area is one of the biggest revenue generators for the state…right I don’t know what the problem is, even though there are many Badung DPRDs [local senators] around this area”.
He continued, “Maybe they [senators] rarely go out, so they don’t know about this situation, so they miss the budget. Maybe also @dpuprbadung was too busy that he missed including the Canggu area in his budget proposal. It’s also possible that the regent @giri.prasta thinks tourists in this area are fine, so that during his two terms of leadership, the Canggu area missed the facility rejuvenation. Maybe lol. Or maybe I’m the stupid one for talking about this problem”. Bold statements indeed to call out the Regent and other local senators in such a public and damming way.
The complaints haven’t fallen on deaf ears, though the response from the Head of the Public Works and Spatial Planning Office may not be the news locals were hoping for. Surya Suamba did not deny the issue of traffic in Canggu. He explained that the Badung Regency Government has budgeted for improvements to Jalan Pantai Berawa and the surrounding area in 2023. He said, “later in 2023 we will arrange drainage and sidewalks. This arrangement has also been included in the 2023 [budget]”
Traffic on main roads, and even the unofficial shortcuts, is causing drivers to create their own solutions to the problem. Drivers, both local and tourists, are now turning tor driving along narrow farm tracks between rice paddy fields in a bid to get to where they need to go. Though there are several shortcuts that can support lots of traffic, most of the newly adopted shortcuts are farm-use-only pathways that are not suitable for heavy traffic.
Every day, more and more videos are shared online of mopeds and their drivers sliding off narrow rice paddy tracks into flooded fields. Not only does this cause injury to the driver, but it damages the valuable rice crops and damages the often rented scooter, in the case of tourists, that is. Local farmers and village residents are tired of having their access-only route co-opted by drivers cutting their land.
Speaking to local reporters about the increasing number of vehicles on the path known locally as ‘Mango Alley,’ Pak Suan shared his concern. He noted that the road, only designed to be used by a few passing farmers each day, is being quickly destroyed by the volume of traffic. He’s observed an increase in accidents and damage to crops.
He said, “All the people complain that many guests fall into the rice fields. When the rainy season is busy, there are frequent traffic jams, guests don’t want to budge, many fall, and the owners of the rice fields are destroyed, they complain”. He and the community have plans to widen the alleyway and are waiting for permission from the Regency to do so.
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