Residents Oppose Moto Ban on Monivong

Hundreds of Phnom Penh residents plan today to protest the municipal government’s recent decision to close off the busiest section of the city’s busiest boulevard to motorcycles, said Boeng Prolit commune representative Teap Sokhoeun.

“For a long time, we have been living and running businesses along Monivong Boulevard,” a petition signed by residents of Boeng Prolit commune in Prampi Makara district states. “All of our clients and residents travel by motorcycle or motor-taxi. It is the easiest way for them to travel.”

The city began a monthlong experiment in public transit Friday when 22 buses started operating along two routes between 5:30 am and 7:30 pm daily. As part of the experiment, however, bicycles, cyclos, motorcycles and slow-moving vehicles have been banned from Moni­vong Boulevard, the city’s main artery, between Kampuchea Krom and Sihanouk boulevards during those hours.

The city hopes to ease increasingly congested traffic conditions by encouraging residents to take the bus on the city’s main boulevards. Phnom Penh Governor Chea Sophara has said the city hopes to reduce traffic accidents by 70 percent within three years.

Phnom Penh traffic conditions have deteriorated greatly in recent years as more vehicles are using the streets. More than 80 percent of accidents in the capital involve motorcycles, according to a study conducted earlier this year by the NGO Handicap Inter­national Belgium. The petition signers are demanding that the city immediately reopen the heavily traveled section of Monivong to all vehicles.

Chea Sophara said Tuesday he welcomes the petition. He pro­mised to find a way to solve the residents’ problems, but he can’t say what that solution might be.

Teap Sokhoeun said residents will begin walking from their houses on Monivong at 8 am, and gather soon after that for a demonstration at the Municipal Government Building.

The bus experiment, which is being funded by the Japan Inter­national Cooperation Agency, is scheduled to end June 30.

One route goes both ways along Monivong Boulevard from Chbar Ampou to Prek Liep. The second route travels one way along Norodom, Sihanouk, Ne­h­ru and Kampuchea Krom Boule­vards.


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