A trial project meant to alleviate traffic jams by turning a series of well-travelled streets in Daun Penh district into one-way roads has been extended indefinitely, a Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) representative told the Post yesterday.
The project – a joint initiative of the municipality and JICA – converted sections of streets 130, 136, 154 and 178 between Preah Norodom and Preah Sisowath boulevards into one-way roads in late February.
“City Hall is continuing to examine the results of the trial and will finalise their decision to introduce or expand the system if they get positive results,” said Egami Masahiko, a representative of JICA’s infrastructure program.
He added that the program has received largely positive feedback and is part of a wider study into reducing traffic congestion in the capital, the results of which will be released in early 2014.
With no police enforcement east of Preah Norodom Boulevard, however, vehicles can be spotted at all hours of the day speeding down the one-way roads, ignoring the handful of signs and street arrows that point them in the opposite direction.
City Hall could not be reached for comment, but Phnom Penh traffic police chief Heng Chan Theary admitted that more than a month after the project’s start, “some of the road users still have problems with the rule.”
He and officers posted at the checkpoints insisted they’d been vigorous about educating motorists on the new rules, but many drivers said they were unaware of the system.
Meanwhile, though both JICA and Chan Theary said the role of the officers was meant to be strictly educational during the trial, numerous motorists have been forced to turn over money during the past weeks.
“I was fined 5,000 riel, but the police refused to give a ticket to me,” said Keo Dalin, who was stopped by police on her motorbike yesterday.
A nearby officer who declined to give his name denied her account, saying officers intended to only educate her, “but in fact, she gave . . . because she does not want to listen our education.”