Ubud may have been named the best city in Asia for 2022, but Bali’s cultural capital is not immune to the traffic congestion that is often associated with Canggu and Kuta. Tourism was notably slower to recover in Ubud than in Bali’s coastal destinations of Kuta, Nusa Dua, and Sanur, but as international visitors are heading back to Ubud, the issues around traffic are resurfacing again.
The conversation of traffic issues in Ubud is nothing new. The once small local town surrounded by communities and rural villages, now receives far more traffic and footfall than the infrastructure was ever initially designed to support.
As guesthouses, cafes, shops, and other tourist facilities have cropped up across Ubud, the road infrastructure has largely remained the same. Whatsmore, the oneway system is designed to help prevent traffic jams but can sometimes cause even greater backlogs of cars as traffic must flow through a longer route.
Local newspapers have started to highlight the issue once again. NusaBali describes how the traffic in Ubud spans from Banjar Tegss and continues Banjar Kalah in Peliatan Village. From the south side, the traffic jams start from the Pengosekan intersection, Mas Village, and can be tracked through to the BPD Ubud intersection.
The most congested point is between Monkey Forest towards Catus Pata Ubud and towards the west at Campuhan, Ubud. Traffic is worse at peak times like morning rush hour and the early evening when day tours return to Ubud. Traffic can be at its heaviest on the weekends when many travelers are either arriving or departing from the area.
Though many travelers complain about the traffic and many locals are frustrated about the length of time it takes to get around town, other locals welcome the traffic. For some locals, the traffic is a sign that Bali is busy again.
Compared to 2020 and 2021, the fact that there is enough traffic to cause a backlog is a bizarre reason to celebrate. When traffic gets too congested the local pecalang, village security teams, often step in to help redirect traffic and keep people moving. While the conversation around traffic issues in Ubud has hit headlines again, there have not been any formal solutions put on the table.
Speaking to local reporters Gusti Ketut Keramas from Ubud Village said ‘…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’.
Last week Senators for the provincial Bali government discussed the issue of traffic congestion in Canggu. Similar to Ubud, Canggu has undergone rapid tourism development in the last ten years. The construction of villas, guesthouses, and cafes on land that was typically accessed only for agricultural purposes has led to an imbalance between tourism facilities and supporting infrastructure.
I Wayan Sandra who is the Chairman of the Commission III Badung DPRD explained to the office that infrastructure for water management and roads is vitally important for the continued development and long-term success of Canggu, and Bali more broadly. He requested more funds from the provincial government to level up the road networks around Canggu.
Sandra warned his fellow senators that ‘Every year there is an improvement. If it is not handled immediately, it is not impossible that it will be in the national spotlight because of poor infrastructure’. Sandra’s concerns were listened to, though the provincial government could not issue funds for his departments right away.
Instead, the Head of Badung TAPD who is also the Badung Regional Secretary I Wayan Adi Arnawa told Sandra that ‘It is very realistic that the arrangement of infrastructure must be in line with the increase in income. Of course, it will be considered. Maybe in 2023, we will do something in the revised budget in North Kuta’.
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