Prime Minister Hun Sen wants a draft public order law and more parking lots in cities across the kingdom to help reduce traffic congestion. The premier also urged Phnom Penh City Hall to expand its public transport service.
Speaking in celebration of National Clean City Day yesterday at the Peace Palace, Mr. Hun Sen asked all sub-level administrations to improve public order by having proper parking lots, footpaths and cycling lanes in cities throughout the country.
“I request that you study parking lots in the cities to make them better and request that you study a draft law on public order,” he said, adding that the law’s establishment will help to promote aesthetics and reduce traffic congestion.
Mr. Hun Sen did not go into detail about his parking lot plan, instead moving on to discuss the relocation of taxi stations, an issue he admitted gave him a headache.
“It is an illness that I already resolved in Serei Saophoan [in Banteay Meanchey province] and Kampong Speu province,” he said.
Last August, Mr. Hun Sen ordered the cancellation of all documents related to relocating a taxi station in Kampong Speu province after vendors and taxi drivers protested, complaining there would be no customers at the new location. “The old taxi station will stay at the same place for vendors forever,” the premier said at the time, adding that all documents about the relocation would be invalidated.
“Do not change like this. Please remember, do not do it,” Mr. Hun Sen said yesterday. “This issue gives me a headache.”
Cambodia does not have any public underground or multi-story car parks. Drivers often park on the side of roads, blocking footpaths as well as traffic.
Many stores and restaurants do not have enough space for parking and some markets use part of the road in lieu of a parking lot.
Ear Chariya, the founding director of the Institute for Road Safety, said public parking lots would reduce traffic congestion and resolve issues related to public order.
“I think we should create parking lots in many places,” he said, stressing areas near markets, restaurants and schools.
Some markets have increased traffic congestion because part of the road is used for parking, he added.
“However, the challenges of parking lots are that they need a lot of investment, and do not provide much profit like other business,” Mr. Chariya said. “So it requires support from the government.”
Government support would encourage a private company to construct an underground parking garage, he added, giving an example why the government should provide state-owned land for investors to rent for this purpose.
“Land plots are very expensive. No private company is able to rent [the land] for a parking lot, so government support is necessary,” Mr. Chariya said.
City Hall spokesman Met Meas Pheakdey said there are about 10 parking lots in Phnom Penh, with two underground parking garages now under construction.
“We have had discussions about this issue and we started the construction of underground parking garages at two locations,” he said, adding that both will be finished in the next six months.
Two more underground parking garages have yet to begin construction.
Mr. Meas Pheakdey said that those four locations combined will be able to hold more than 1,000 cars.
However, he did not confirm the price for parking, saying that City Hall would discuss this issue to set an acceptable price for both car owners and the company.