Indonesia's capital Jakarta to make its sidewalks more 'high-heel friendly'

Jakarta's administration has said they will be looking at having more "high-heel friendly" sidewalks in the Indonesian capital as part of a plan to revamp the city. PHOTO: ST FILE

JAKARTA (THE JAKARTA POST/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Women in Jakarta, who have long gotten used to the challenges of walking on the city's uneven sidewalks in high heels, will soon be able to look forward to a smoother stroll for their work commute.

The Indonesian capital's administration has promised more "high-heel friendly" sidewalks as part of its plan to revamp the city's sidewalks, the Jakarta Post reported on Thursday (Sept 14).

The administration, through the Bina Marga road agency, will develop 80km of the city's sidewalks and allocating 412 billion rupiah (S$42 million) from the city budget for the development.

The agency will be in charge of developing 24km of the city's sidewalks, while the rest will be developed by Bina Marga's sub-agencies at the municipality level.

Riri Asnita, the planning division head of Jakarta's Bina Marga road agency, said to ensure the sidewalks would be solid and flat, they would be developed with stamped concrete and floor hardeners.

She said the existing sidewalks had been mostly made from paving blocks that resulted in uneven surfaces due to the city's land contours.

The construction of sidewalks using the new materials should result in proper sidewalks that cater not only to the needs of women in high heels but all residents, she added.

"Our target is to provide all Jakartans, including children, the elderly, women and disabled people, with comfortable sidewalks," she added.

The agency expects the prosagaject to be finished at the end of the year.

The head of road infrastructure and utilisation at Bina Marga's North Jakarta branch, Libertus Sagata, said the agency would revamp nine kilometres of sidewalk in six districts in the municipality.

The sidewalks will be expanded to between three to six metres in width depending on the amount of land available and the conditions of the traffic lanes.

Separately, Bina Marga's Central Jakarta head of road facilities and utilities, Bogi Widiatmaji, said 19 km of sidewalks in the area would be decorated with stones and lined with patterns, while floor guides would be included for the visually impaired.

Women in Jakarta who work in the city's Sudirman central business district area told The Jakarta Post they have long been frustrated by the city's uneven streets.

Private company employee Uly Simamora, 24, who works on the Jalan Jenderal Sudirmanroad in Central Jakarta, a major thoroughfare in the capital, said she always carried sneakers or flat shoes in her bag to change into before heading out from her office to buy lunch.

The sidewalks that she passes every day is made of cement, a material that leaves marks on her shoes.

"It's so troublesome that I have to change shoes if I need to go out from the office. However, I have no choice. The poorly built sidewalks once badly scratched my high heels," she said.

Lawyer Olivia Nia, 24, who works in Kuningan in South Jakarta, echoed her sentiments, saying she always changed from sandals into high heels whenever she wanted to buy lunch around her office.

The uneven surface of the sidewalks near her office made it difficult for her to keep her balance while walking in 9cm high heels.

"I almost fell a couple of times while walking in high-heels on the sidewalk," she added.

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