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Fresh decor for Phnom Penh

Fresh decor for Phnom Penh

Officials aim to boost foot traffic between river, Central Market

CITY Hall has unveiled plans to construct pedestrian walkways stretching along Street 130 from Central Market to Sisowath Quay and to place parking areas on the street, upgrades officials said would beautify Daun Penh district and promote tourism.

Phnom Penh Deputy Governor Mann Chhoeun said Tuesday that the plan, which was approved by Governor Kep Chuktema on March 18, would cost US$150,000 and would take about three months to be executed.

“The pedestrian walkway is the first project that will show Phnom Penh is adapting to become a modern city,” Mann Chhoeun said.

He added that parking on Street 130 would be charged by the hour.

A rendering of the plan posted on the riverside near Street 130 shows that the street will be widened to include pavements and designated parking on both sides between Norodom Boulevard and Sisowath Quay. The same features will also be installed between Norodom and Central Market, in addition to a central median strip, including a garden.

Ek Khun Doeun, deputy governor of Daun Penh district, said tamarind trees would be planted in the garden, and that he hopes the project will make tourists feel safer near the market at night.

“This is a tourist place for both local people and foreigners, and we will open a food court at the market that will stay open past midnight,” he said.

He added that as part of the upgrade, drainage pipes would be placed underground to prevent flooding.

Central Market is currently undergoing renovations funded by the French Development Agency.

Laurence Bernardi, first secretary of the French embassy, said the second of three phases of the renovation was “almost achieved”, and that the reinstallation of stands should have begun on Tuesday. Bernardi said the project would be complete by early 2011 at the latest.

Those who operate businesses along Street 130 said Tuesday that they welcomed the proposed upgrades, but that they were concerned they would be forced to move or at least push back their shops.

“I believe those who sell things on the street will not agree because they have run businesses for a long time,” said Chea Chan, a watch repairer who has a stall on the street.