THE Bulawayo City Council has decided to temporarily close 5th Avenue for vending activities as it plans to create 500 vending bays in the area and allow smooth vehicular passage.
The council met informal traders on Thursday at the Large City Hall and reversed its previous resolution that banned vendors from operating along 5th Avenue. However, the road closure did not deter illegal vendors from occupying the space and making the road impassable.
Town Clerk Christopher Dube said the road closure was part of the city’s decongestion plans and was in compliance with the Roads Act.
“The Bulawayo City Council at its meeting of 7 February 2024 resolved to temporarily close a portion of 5th Avenue to accommodate 500 informal trading bays. The closure of a portion of 5th Avenue rescinds previous Council resolutions of 3rd June 2020 and 7 December 2022. The portion of 5th Avenue will now have two riding lanes and vending bays for the 500 informal traders,” he said.
Dube said the council recognised the need to balance the multiple functions of the road such as parking, informal trading, vehicular traffic movement and access to property by property owners.
“The temporary closure will ensure that all road users including property owners from the southern side are able to park their vehicles close to their working spaces. The decision to temporarily close 5th Avenue is a result of stakeholder engagement and dovetails with the City of Bulawayo’s strategy to enhance local economic development through the provision of accessible and affordable working spaces,” he said.
Dube also said that the council will establish a new vending site for clothing and fruits along Lobengula Street between 2nd Avenue terminus and the municipal Roads Yard. He urged all traders operating from 5th Avenue to vacate the road to allow the council to implement its resolution.
Local Government and Public Works Minister Winston Chitando said the Government supports local authorities’ efforts to bring order in cities.