CRISIS IN THE CITY
By VORAK NY

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INNER-CITY TRAFFIC

 

Cambodian parents tend to advise their children how to sleep, walk, stand, sit, and speak. As it comes to driving, parent tends to advice their children to take “extra-precaution-slow-and-careful” This is not necessary bad, but it will not guaranty safety and solve traffic congestion.

My only regret is that what we have attempted to do has been done so imperfectly. Shaving off the sidewalks and widening the road, installed concrete median strips is not a long term solution. Cambodia has similar traffic law and regulation like most countries.

I am yet convinced that of many cars in Phnom Penh. It seems that undisciplined driving and the lack of traffic regulations are the cause of traffic congestion and chaotic.

Traffic sign was invented along with the automobile industry to regulate traffic flow between intersections. Take into account that Cambodia is in short supply of electricity. There are virtually not many stop signs, and people never make a complete stop for it. Traffic sign can increase the traffic-handling capacity of most intersections and improve road safety.

 

Traffic signs are the most extensively used form of traffic control in many countries. Most Traffic Sings are designed to regulate the flow of traffic. Most cities in US adopted a Two-Second-Plus Rule. This simply means that motorist must make a complete stop before proceeding. STOP Sign can ease much of traffic congestion.

Accident and safety are going hand-in-hand. There are many issues that should factor in: Helmet, seatbelt, child protective seat, side-view mirror, pavement markings with white and yellow paint, concrete median strips should have been a plastic filled-water, not concrete block, reflective devices are more visible at night and are used in some locations to mark lanes and other significant places on the road should be part of traffic safety regulations.

Extensive uses of cell phone, watching karaoke video (front seat), not using turn-signal, driving too slow that hold up the traffic flow and driving too fast due to unregulated of speed limit, driving on opposite direction of one-way streets and illegal parking.

 

Lane changing is another; cars are swaying from side to side. Making U-Turn can also slow down the traffic flow. Passing left and right is prone to cause accident. Most drivers depend on evasive maneuvers by every other driver, merging from left-hand lane, into oncoming traffic, with a get out of my way attitude.

Running red light is quite common. One should closely observe of how motorists behave on the road. At any intersection, those need to make a left-turn stop at incoming traffic lane, illegal parking, making U-Turn and reckless driving. Most motorists seem quite impatient for stop light to turn green. In most cases, ones would make short cut to avoid waiting for traffic light.

Improving road condition can also help reduce congestion during peak hour. But that alone will not solve traffic long term problem; traffic regulation that keep the traffic flow. There is no speed limit sign found within the Phnom Penh city limit, with an exception of few major Nation Routes.

 

There is enough said about police brutality. Police could make more money while educating the public of traffic law at the same time. But in most cases, police pull motorists over minor traffic fractions, in some cases are way out of their jurisdiction just to make end meet.

Residential, commercial and industrial zoning should also consider for future urban planning. Public transportation, timing and public parking lot are also important. That’s the future.

Undisciplined driving is a reflection of the country as a whole. And we all have contributed to it. After all, if ones obey the traffic law, traffic signs are in place, stop light is properly time-regulated and enforced speed limit, and motorists commit to doing their parts, the traffic will flow. It may be slow but not unruly chaotic. Disciplined driving can paint a good picture of a society we all live in. That’s Cambodia. Say What You Mean

Publication: This article appeared in the Cambodia Daily on Wednesday, December 6, 2006 on p23.

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