Friday, June 05, 2009

The naming of streets is a difficult matter

The Jakarta Post | Tue, 06/02/2009 11:14 AM | Features
Streets are given names and buildings are assigned numbers so they can be easily located, but what might appear a simple task has long been a major problem in Jakarta.
The lack of a coherent system for naming streets, first noted by academic Boejoeng Saleh in 1953, reflects the unplanned nature of Jakarta’s urban development.
It was not until September 1974, two decades after he raised the issue, that a gubernatorial decree on numbering streets, gardens and public buildings was issued. In 1976 another gubernatorial decree on the matter was issued.
Saleh noted that the only kind of system to be found is the naming and numbering of smaller streets after the main street they connect to. For example, the side streets coming off Kramat are named Kramat 1 to 8.
In Tanjung Priok, one even finds Lorong (path or alley) 1 to Lorong 104. An exception to this is the area near the Halim Perdana Kusuma military airport, where the streets are named after different types of aircraft: Bomber, Dakota, Ilyusin, Mustang and Hercules.
The same name sometimes appears in different places; for instance, there are several occurrences of Jalan Anggrek, Dahlia, Asem and Madrasah.
After Independence, all Dutch names were replaced. Those loaded with political meanings were changed to reflect Indonesian national history. Thus the Orangeboulevard became Jalan Diponegoro, Van Heutszboulevard became Jalan Teuku Umar, and so on.
Numbering houses is yet another matter. In August 1957, the Jakarta government issued a bylaw that stipulated that buildings must be numbered, and that house owners or building occupants were required to put a nameplate on the building.
A gubernatorial degree in 1976 that replaced the 1957 regulation only stipulated an obligation to assign number plates of a similar shape, color and size for every building in the city, but overruled the obligation for building owners or occupants to put their name on the building. The stated reason for this was “to prevent negative impact or things that will harm the owners or occupants”.
The most recent regulation on house numbering – a bylaw issued in 1986 – states that a house’s number plate must be blue, with the number in white. The regulation size for a one-digit street number is 7 x 11 centimeters, for a two-digit number is 7 x 16 centimeters and 7 x 22 centimeters for a three-digit number.
The regulation also says that failure to assign a proper number to a house is a criminal offense, but there is no record of anybody in Jakarta ever being jailed or fined over the matter.
– JP/Matheos V. Messakh

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