In a recent proposal, city officials argue that police should be given the authority to close down businesses that permit on-street parking.
A line of cars parked across a side street near Phnom Penh's Wat Botom. Police say they aim to crack down on illegal on-street parking.
FINES ON THE RISE
The chief of Phnom Penh's Traffic Police, Tin Prasoer, said an average of two to three cars had been fined each day for parking on the street this year. Only about 100 were fined for the same offense in 2008, suggesting that enforcement has been ramped up.
CITY officials asked Phnom Penh Governor Kep Chuktema last week to give police the authority to close down businesses that allow their employees and customers to park on the street.
Phnom Penh Deputy Governor Chreang Sophann said the proposed disciplinary measure, which no officials could elaborate on, is designed to curb traffic congestion and would target hotels, restaurants and business centres.
"I don't know when this would start because we are waiting for a decision from the governor," Chreang Sophann said. "It is a draft proposal and the decision depends on the governor."
Phnom Penh Deputy Governor Pa Socheatvong said there are currently no rules governing on-street parking. He said Kep Chuktema and his staff were studying which roads should be free of on-street parking, adding that the practice would likely be forbidden on larger roads.
Chreang Sophann said the decision to draft the proposal was reached during a March 4 meeting at which city officials discussed the problem of traffic congestion on the capital's streets.
A widespread problem
Tin Prasoer, chief of Phnom Penh's Traffic Police, said about 100 motorists were fined for parking their cars on the street last year.
"We just nab their cars and educate them not to park in the street anymore," he said.
Though he acknowledged that police could be more diligent in cracking down on drivers who park on the street, he said the public could also do more to address the problem.
"I want drivers and the people to understand about parking laws, and I think not only the Traffic Police can reduce traffic accidents and traffic jams," he said. "Also the people themselves have to cooperate with us."
He said he hoped public enthusiasm for the proposed crackdown on on-street parking would match that shown for the recent law requiring motorbike drivers to wear helmets.
Tin Prasoer said the capital's most congested road is Monivong Boulevard, in part because many cars park on it.
He said two to three cars parked on city streets have been fined each day in 2009.
Sem Panhavuth, manager of the Road Traffic Accident and Victim Information System of Handicap International Belgium, said he supported the government's apparent desire to crack down on cars parked on the street. He said, however, that focusing on main roads would only push more cars onto smaller streets and would do little to alleviate congestion.
He said police should also be encouraged to crack down on wealthy and powerful drivers who park on the street.
"Some police do not dare to fine some drivers who park in the road because most of them are rich and have power," he said.