Rangoon to Relocate Street Vendors
By Tin Htet Paing 17 November 2016
RANGOON— In an effort to manage the sprawl of street vendors on downtown Rangoon’s congested roads, the city’s municipal authority has designated three locations for vendors and expects to launch them next week, a senior official said.
According to U Nyi Nyi Oo, deputy head of the Yangon City Development Committee’s (YCDC) administrative department, the three locations are: Strand Road from Lanmadaw Township’s Aung Yadanar Street to Pansodan Street, the two lower blocks of Mahabandoola Park Street, and Bank Street between Mahabandoola Park Street and Pansodan Street.
The YCDC has spent nearly 2 billion kyats (US$1.5 million) on the project and the locations will also include public toilets, a system to recycle used water and CCTV, he said. The locations will be open from 3 p.m. to 11 p.m.
“The maximum capacity that we can currently allow is 1,600 [street vendors] and food and fruit vendors will be prioritized,” he said.
In late September, the YCDC collected data on vendors in the city’s four most congested townships, located in the commercial capital’s downtown grid—Lanmadaw, Latha, Pabedan and Kyauktada—for registration. According to the YCDC officials’ survey, there were more than 1,000 vendors in each township and the municipal authority is planning to give registration cards to 6,041 individuals who completed the necessary data for the survey, providing a specific location for each vendor.
U Nyi Nyi Oo also said that selling goods on eleven major roads downtown— Anawrahta, Bogyoke, Mahabandoola, Pansodan, Merchant, Shwedagon Pagoda, Sule Pagoda, Latha, Lanmadaw, Phone Gyi and Strand Roads—would be prohibited after the designated locations opened.
He added that street vendors would be allowed to occupy downtown streets outside of those 11 major streets.
“The project can succeed if all [street vendors] follow the [new] regulations,” he said. “It will definitely be difficult for those who want to sell wherever and however they want,” he added, stating that street vendors in downtown townships have contributed to unmanageable foot traffic during peak hours.
The Yangon Heritage Trust (YHT) published a conservation and development strategy in late September, recommending that guidelines and regulations be designed in partnership with vendors, ensuring “safety and pedestrian priority while still allowing vendors to function.”
The YHT also recommends that vendors be “relicensed,” and that umbrellas attached to stalls [providing vendors with shelter from the sun and rain] should be positioned with “a minimum clearance of 7 feet to allow free passage of pedestrians.”