Phnom Penh Begins Purge of On-Street Parking

City Hall’s effort to clean up Phnom Penh’s cluttered streets is now targeting vehicles parked for sale along roads, with sellers given one week to move cars lining the narrow perimeter around the former Freedom Park.

District officials have been ordered to clear the roads all the way up to the Night Market, deputy district governor Chhim Dina said. “If the district can’t do it, it has to face City Hall,” Mr. Dina said.

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Rows of cars displaying for-sale signs parked along the perimeter of the former Freedom Park on Monday. (Siv Channa/The Cambodia Daily)

According to City Hall spokesman Met Measpheakdey, the removal of the cars flanking the park in Dauh Penh district was ordered to allow upcoming renovations and make the green space more easily accessible to pedestrians.

He added that the new parking directive would be extended citywide.

“Parking or displaying cars for sale on the lanes and sidewalks making it inaccessible for people to walk, this [removal] is work for our authority to better organize the place,” Mr. Measpheakdey said.

The one-week notice period began on Saturday and will extend to this Saturday. Streets 108 and 106 are set to be cleared from Canadia Bank’s head office to the Night Market and motorbike parking around the market will no longer be permitted, Mr. Dina said.

For years, the cars remained stationed around the park due to a contract between the city’s municipal government and Sonatra Group, Mr. Measpheakdey said. The financial securities group leased the spaces to used car sellers looking to attract potential buyers.

Without naming an official date, the City Hall spokesman said the contract had recently been terminated.

Car vendors were notified of the ban by letter and district officials roamed the area in vehicles with loudspeakers blaring an announcement, the deputy district governor said. He added that any remaining cars would be towed away after the end of the notice period.

Lim Mann, 45, has been selling cars by street advertisement across from the park for 25 years and said he had four or five cars currently parked—one spot costing him about $30 a month and another 3,000 riel, or about $0.75, per night. Mr. Mann said it wasn’t the first time authorities had attempted to clear the streets surrounding the park and nearby market.

Though he expressed doubt at the plausibility of City Hall’s success, he said he would comply with the new directive and simply find a new spot to park his fleet of vehicles.

“Wherever there are chances to park the cars, I’ll put them for sale,” Mr. Mann said.

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