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Reclaiming the Streets of Kuta

One of Kuta, Bali's Busiest Streets Closed to Traffic on Saturday Nights.

(12/4/2010) In a bold experiment, local authorities and Bali police are closing one of Kuta's busiest streets every Saturday night to vehicular traffic giving pedestrians and cyclists free reign where traffic congestion is more normally the rule.

Jalan Legian between Bemo Corner and the Jalan Patik Jelantik intersection - was closed on Saturday, November 27, 2010, from 10:00 pm until 5 am. Police gaurded both ends of the road, diverting vehicles via detour routes or directing the public to a parking area in Patih Jelantik.

The stretch of road which is home to numerous night spots is also the site of the 2002 bombing in Bali which claimed 202 lives.

The Jakarta Post reports that the launch of the "car free zone" was generally met with enthusiasm by Saturday night revelers, including a group of 50 cycling enthusiasts who descended on the street normally crowded with bumper-to-bumper traffic. One of the cyclists, Endra Datta, said: We're here to enjoy the different ambiance in the street. This is phenomenal! Who would have thought that the most crowded street in Bali would be closed to vehicles."

Police in cooperation with local community guards (pacalang) will continue to assist with the "car free" Saturday nights as Kuta police continue to evaluate the impact of the program.