Phnom Penh Municipality has announced that it will launch a pilot project next month to clear areas for pedestrians as well as organize car and motorcycle parking along Charles de Gaulle Boulevard, or Street 217.
Local shop owners, however, said they opposed the project, fearing it would disturb traffic and hurt their businesses located in Prampi Makara district.
According to a March 10 City Hall statement signed by governor Kep Chuktema, the municipality will clear parked cars and businesses set up along the boulevard’s sidewalks and reserve a small section for motorcycle parking, while designating part of the road for car parking.
Currently, motorbikes, cars and shopping goods blocked the sidewalk and forced pedestrians onto the road, the statement read, adding that the “public experiment” would last a week and start after the Khmer New Year, which ends on April 16.
Deputy governor Pa Socheatvong said yesterday that the project would create “public order” and reduce traffic accidents involving pedestrians.
“We do it to make the people use the right space for parking. [And] to make public order and change the habit of the people’s parking anarchy in the city,” he said, adding that commune and district officials would implement the project.
A 45-year-old equipment vendor on the boulevard, who only gave her given name as Channy, said she knew of the plan and that residents would try to collect thumbprints for a petition to stop it. She said vendors feared the project would reduce parking space for their customers, while parking more cars on the road would cause traffic congestion.
“I asked my neighbors and they told me they also don’t agree with it, because it will affect us a lot, especially our businesses,” she said.
Mr Socheatvong said local residents should cooperate with the city-run project and realize the sidewalk is not their personal property.
“It does not belong to the owner of the house, but they can clean or take care of it,” he added.