A Brawl Brewing Over D.C. Food Trucks

LET THE LOBBYING commence in D.C., where administrators are proposing parking regulations that are distressing food truck vendors.  According to the Washington Post:

The regulations, which require D.C. Council approval to become law, offer a two-tiered system in which food trucks would still be allowed to sell from any legal parking space , as long as they follow the posted time limits. But truck operators would also be able to apply for a permit for a specially designated spot that would allow them to vend from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The city has also proposed “mobile roadway vending” zones in the more crowded areas. “The zones were offered as a way to alleviate congestion and prevent fights among vendors for prime parking spots.”  The best bite-size primer is offered by the Young & Hungry blog at Washington City Paper:

As a refresher: The proposed regulations call for 23 mobile vending zones throughout the city where limited numbers of food trucks would be allowed to sell food. Each zone would have a minimum of three parking spots; the cap is still unknown. A monthly lottery system would determine who got the spots for each weekday, and those who don’t win zoned locations would have to park at least 500 feet away from the zones. In the central business district, mobile vendors would also be limited to metered parking spots with less than 10 feet of unobstructed sidewalk.

So how will all of this affect mobile vendors?  It will render them immobile, and thereby obsolete.  At least that’s what Doug Povich, Chairman of the Food Truck Association, avers.  “You’ve effectively taken away our ability to roam and meet demand,” said Povich “You’ve effectively turned us into stationary roadway vendors.”  The D.C. Food Truck Association’s homepage blares, “Proposed Food Truck Regulations Would Make Food Trucks Illegal in Most of Downtown.”

The blame is flatly laid upon the District’s restaurant association, which the vendors believe wants to “flatten the tires of these “mobile interlopers” [who are] stealing their customers and cluttering their sidewalks.”  (The Washington Examiner calls the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington the food truck vendor’s “natural foe.”)

Since the D.C. Council cannot amend the proposed rules, those who fear for their business have no option but to lobby for a ‘No’ vote.  A map of would-be affected zones can be found here.

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