A hundred ramps have been placed into the sidewalk running along the west side of Norodom Boulevard in Phnom Penh to allow access for people in wheelchairs, officials said.
Yi Veasna, executive director of the National Center of Disabled Persons, a semiautonomous government body, said Tuesday that work, which began in August, is scheduled to be completed by the end of the month.
Yi Veasna added that the NCDP planned to talk to municipal officials about putting ramps on the eastern sidewalk, too.
The sidewalk curbs, which range from 12 to 25 cm in height, are not accessible to people in wheelchairs, he said.
“Previously, they rode their wheelchairs in the street, sometimes leading to traffic accidents and being viewed as beggars,” he said, adding that such ramps would also help the elderly and children mount high walkways.
Sann Socheata, road safety program manager for the NGO Handicap International, said that officials were on the right track.
“It is a good thing that they can make the ramps as it also concerns the right of the disabled to participation,” she said.
Sann Socheata added that as much as 8 percent of traffic accidents in 2006 involved pedestrians, highlighting the need for accessible sidewalks.
Yi Veasna said the number of ramps, which are about 1.2 meters wide cost $50 each, have been limited to 100 so far due to budget concerns, but he hoped to discuss adding further ramps with municipal officials.
Ou Thonsal, deputy chief of the municipal public works department’s transportation office, said that officials were studying plans to continue ramp building on Norodom Boulevard.
On Thonsal added that they were also considering plans for ramps on Monivong Boulevard.
Deputy Municipal Governor Chreang Sophan said the city supported the addition of ramps.
“We need the ramps on the sidewalks to make it easy for disabled people to pass,” he said.
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