Street Vendors: from Pecinan to Rejowinangun

A sidewalk on Jalan Pemuda or Magelang's Pecinan after widening. Image by Sahrudin

A sidewalk on Jalan Pemuda or Magelang’s Pecinan after widening. Image by Sahrudin

By: Sahrudin@SahrudinSaja

JALAN Pemuda or better known as Magelang’s Pecinan area look neat and tidy since last 2 years. Roadway and sidewalk cleanliness are always maintained as workers of Magelang Municipality landscaping and sanitary service sweep them twice a day. Leaves fall off trees growing along Pecinan, make the roadway and sidewalk look dirty, and a worker is coming to clean…

A few years ago, street vendors, legal and illegal, still clogged the sidewalks on Pecinan. The pavement were then very narrow. Pedestrians almost couldn’t walk, because at the same time they also must “compete” with pedicab drivers and bicycle riders.

On the sidewalk, several large shoes stands wrapped around the outside of a busy pharmacy; vendors selling everything from toys to underclothes cram into every space outside another store.

Some shop owners might become frustrated by vendors who take away business while others add to the problem by renting out space in front of their stores.

The downtown Magelang, especially Pecinan area is both a transit hub and a shopping center, home to several public transportation. That makes it a prime location for vendors and merchants.

Furthermore, the Municipality created new policies: widening sidewalk and a policy on street vendors. The government then cracked down on the vendors and merchants, and forced them to leave Pecinan’s sidewalk (and other certain locations) to designated, newly rebuilt market: Pasar Rejowinangun.

Pasar Rejowinangun gateway. Image credit: Berita Empat

Pasar Rejowinangun gateway. Image credit: Berita Empat

Many stories and memories are stored and saved in Pasar Rejowinangun. On of them is when fire burned the market on Thursday night, June 26, 2008. Vendors and kiosk owners may forget the day, but they will always remember the moment that happened 7 years ago.

The fire occurred ahead of fasting month of Ramadan. People were busy with the activities of buying and selling of foodstuffs and various household supplies.

Witnesses shocked by the speed, intensity of the fire. Blaze spread so quickly because the wind blew so hard. It was a huge fire and almost all merchandise and goods in the market couldn’t be saved. Some kiosk and shop owners didn’t have insurance that covered to their properties.

Although the blaze didn’t claim the human lives, more than 2,000 kiosks and small shops were destroyed by fire. Four thousands merchants and vendors lose their source of income. The loss was estimated at IDR 100 billion (USD 7.7 millions).

Pasar Rejowinangun re-opened in early June, 2014. The market is the “wholesale central” that holding many traditional small markets in Magelang Municipality and Regency, and also several neighboring regencies.

Pasar Rejowinangun was believed to have existed in Magelang in the 1900s. Unfortunately, there are no definite data on when the market was built.

People say, there was a small railway station at that time in the vicinity of the location that is now Pasar Rejowinangun. Some people unpacked and laid their wares, crops and livestock on the roadside while waiting for the train. The small railway station was later developed into a small impromptu market.

This semi-modern market now occupies an area of 24,259 square meters, has a total floor space of  33.843 square meters. The building construction cost IDR 85.3 billion, funded mainly by the annual regional budget (APBD) IDR 56 billion and investment fund IDR 29.3 billion.

There are 47 stores, 207 kiosks and 3,519 “petak” (small size kiosks, open at one or more sides) on Rejowinangun’s first and second floor. Over 60 cars and 650 motorbikes can be accommodated in the market’s parking area.***[alwaysmagelang@gmail.com]

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