Selling merchandise out of cars, off the back of motorcycles or from a mat on the ground has become big business in Kunming over the past few years. This sort of vending often causes serious traffic snarls and renders some sidewalks nearly impossible to navigate.
In a somewhat belabored response, local authorities have decided to control and limit street vendors in one downtown area. The city has announced plans to regulate one of the most popular roadside vending locations at Xiaoximen, Xinhua is reporting.
The intersection of Renmin Zhong Lu and Dongfeng Xi Lu was completely closed down in 2008 when the "turtleback flyover" was built. Since then the pedestrian area underneath has become a favorite spot for street vendors to congregate. That will continue to be the case, but hawkers will now be be limited to 139 uniformly sized vending stalls.
People wishing to utilize the spaces will be required to register with the city and pay a monthly rental and "cleanliness" fee of 200 yuan. Forty stalls will be available free of charge for some vendors, including the disabled and recent migrants from the countryside.
The spaces will have three-month leases and vendors are prohibited from subletting their stalls. Random identification checks conducted by the city's much-maligned urban management officers — or chengguan — will also be conducted in an effort to keep a black market in turtleback real estate from developing.
Officials have said that by limiting the number of vendors and giving them stalls, it is hoped nightly traffic congestion in the Xiaoximen area can be alleviated. It will also have the added benefit, according to the article, of "...ensuring the city remains clean and free of image problems."
A new location, roughly 200 meters southwest of the turtleback on Daguan Jie (大观街), has also been proposed. When and if such a move will be made was not mentioned in the Xinhua article. The report does however, give a passing mention of city officials trying to locate or build a suitable venue at which all Kunming street vendors could congregate, although no specific area was indicated.
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