Browsing articles tagged with " Street Vendors"
Mar 14, 2013
Kim Rivers

Proposed regulations upset DC food truck industry

After four rounds of revisions, new regulations for street vendors are headed to the D.C. Council — but the legislation would leave important details up to government agencies.

Food truck advocates and the advocacy group for the area’s brick-and-mortar restaurants agree that the regulations need to be clearer on the numbers, namely how many food trucks can park on a block or in a designated area.

The proposed regulations, drafted by the city’s Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs, divide the world in two — areas where food trucks are free to roam and park in normal legal spaces as they do now, and areas where food trucks are known to congregate, which would have special parking spaces designated for food trucks.

Right now, parts of the city, such as Farragut Square, can see more than a dozen food trucks at a time. The proposed regulations would require a minimum of only three spaces in these regulated areas, leaving it up to government agencies to set the number of spaces in each zone.

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In these selected areas, other food trucks would not be allowed to park in normal parking spaces, so food truck owners want to ensure there are enough designated spaces in these popular areas.

“I think there’s a lot missing from the regulations, a lot of ambiguity and vagueness,” Doug Povich, chairman of the Food Truck Association of Metropolitan Washington.

However, Povich says he does agree that reforms — which would include a daily food truck parking lottery in regulated areas — are necessary to cut down on congestion in areas jam-packed with food trucks.

For its part, the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington wants to see more specifics in the legislation as well.

“We need a little bit more clarity,” said Kathy Hollinger, the association’s president. She said she would like to see no more than two or three food trucks on each side of a block.

The regulation will next move to the council’s Committee on Business, Consumer and Regulatory Affairs, run by Councilman Vincent Orange. He said he had already met with food truck owners, but that he needed to study the proposed legislation further before offering an opinion.

“Obviously, the restaurants have been here for a very long time. They’ve made a major investment in the city,” Orange said. “At the same time, you don’t want to stand in the way of emerging businesses.”

Drafting legislation to satisfy these two natural enemies — brick-and-mortar restaurants and food trucks — has dragged on for years.

Restaurants are eager to see reform. Food trucks don’t pay rent and can drive to customers, poaching them from nearby restaurants.

“If they don’t stop it, they’re going to be everywhere,” said Jim Doherty, owner of downtown’s Washington Deli. “There’s so little barrier to entry.”

enewcomer@washingtonexaminer.com

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Mar 12, 2013
Kim Rivers

Food Truck Craze Coming to Downtown Mtgy.

Food trucks have created a major craze in cities across the country, and now the mobile street vendors are rolling into downtown Montgomery.

 

In order to find out if food trucks will be a success in Montgomery, the city has created a competition. The winner will be the first ever to park in the downtown area. 

 

Millbrook’s Schnitzel Wagon owner Renate Lindsey is keeping her fingers crossed that she can put her food truck to use, and her kitchen will soon be on wheels in Montgomery.

“We do German brats and sauerkraut. we also do a take on a chicken fajita. Oh and we do turkey legs,” she says.

Lindsey is competing against Montgomery’s Super Suppers in the Montgomery Food Truck Competition. The winner will get to park their food truck behind the State House Inn for a limited amount of time.

Food trucks are sweeping the nation, but they haven’t hit Montgomery.

“Let’s determine if there really is a demand for food trucks,” says City Development Director Chad Emerson. “We have heard to concentrate on what they call food deserts, so they will be going in a food desert.”

Emerson says this competition will help the city find out if food trucks are practical in the downtown area.

 ”There are a lot of people who work in these big buildings, and it would be great to have some variety for lunch,” says Cathy Brown who works near the State Capitol.

Traditional downtown restaurants like Smoothies-N-Things Cafe say food trucks may hurt their business.

“It may [hurt business]. They probably will want to try to food truck just to try the food to see how it is,” says Celeste Richardson who owns Smoothies-N-Things Cafe.

But for Lindsey, she’s hoping she wins the competition, but if she doesn’t, she’ll find a way to sell her German treats in the Capitol City.

“I’m like, I hope I win this. I’ve got a nice truck. Everything in it,” she says. “It’s not a fly-by thing for me. I’m really into it!”

 

City leaders and culinary experts will begin judging the competition in the next couple weeks. They will be looking at truck design, food and experience.

The winner will be announced early-April. 

 

 

 

 

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Feb 27, 2013
Kim Rivers

Food Truck Influx Adds to Staten Island’s Traffic Woes, Drivers Say



STATEN ISLAND — An influx of food carts on Staten Island is clogging the borough’s already congested streets, motorists said.

Dozens of food trucks have appeared on street corners and in parking lots, locals said. The problem is particularly bad at large mini malls with many restaurants — favored spots for vendors vying for customers.

Drivers said pulling in and out of the lots has become harder, exacerbated by cars double-parked as drivers wait for food.

“They sprouted up all over Staten Island,” said Tony Cosentino, a member of Community Board 1, about the carts.

“They create problems in all the parking lots. They kind of exacerbate the situation.”

There are currently 36 food truck permits issued for the borough, more than double the 14 that were approved in 2011, according to the Health Department.

Ken Tirado, a board member, said the corner of Victory Boulevard and Clove Road — an intersection that’s already notorious for bad traffic — has gotten even worse. A halal vendor who recently set up shop nearby places cones in the street in front of his cart, Tirado said.

“That is an example of one of these street vendors totally hurting traffic flow and causing big problems,” he said.

The cart was not there last week, and owners and workers at other food trucks refused to comment to DNAinfo.com New York.

Tirado said he and the other board members aren’t against the trucks because of the food they make, but would rather see them only at fairs or in parks.

“It is true that a lot of the legitimate food trucks, the ones that present a unique ethnic food, are welcome to a lot of fairs,” he said.

“But these street vendors are just sort of setting up shop, taking metered parking spaces away from other businesses.”

Nicholas Rizzi

By Nicholas Rizzi, DNAinfo.com

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Feb 27, 2013
Kim Rivers

Worcester city councilor wants food-truck issue revisited


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Tuesday, February 26, 2013




WORCESTER — 

Judging by the skirmish that broke out Tuesday night over the mere suggestion that the City Council revisit the city’s 2008 street vendor ordinance, the possibility of fish tacos and banh mi sandwiches off the side of a food truck still faces an uphill battle in the city.

At-large Councilor Frederick C. Rushton said he wants to put an order to take another look at the 2008 ordinance on the fast track. The 2008 ordinance, drafted after restaurant owners complained they were being unfairly undercut by street vendors with lower overhead, requires permission to operate from restaurant owners within 250 feet of a potential street vending spot.

Mr. Rushton said it’s time to examine how other cities have been able to strike a balance.

“It’s clear that over the past five or six years Boston has been able to balance brick and mortar along with the food truck,” Mr. Rushton said. “And they’ve done it in a systematic way. I think we can probably achieve that balance in the city of Worcester, where we respect the brick and mortar restaurants but we also keep the consumer in mind first and foremost, and some don’t want to sit down — they want to find gourmet food on the corner at the food truck.”

District 5 Councilor William J. Eddy said he would oppose any such measure. He used questions he posed to City Manager Michael V. O’Brien about complaints about street vendors before and after the ordinance to illustrate how it has worked.

At-Large Councilor Konstantina B. Lukes said she grew up in a family that owned a diner, and said it’s a difficult way to earn a living. Just because it’s trendy doesn’t mean it’s economically viable, she said.

But At-large Councilor Kathleen M. Toomey said she’s been approached by restaurant owners who want to branch out into food trucks. And District 4 Councilor Sarai Rivera said it’s a way to start small businesses in the city, and promote economic mobility.

Mr. Rushton said it was too early to fight over an ordinance that wasn’t even on the council floor yet. Still, he said he plans on getting something before the council for a vote by April.

“Do I want them parked all up and down Shrewsbury Street?” Mr. Rushton asked. “No. But somehow, by some miracle of God, the city of Boston has figured out how they can coexist, and in Providence, in Portland, in Denver, and every city that’s on the move. I’m just hoping that maybe we can learn from them and make that existence happen.”

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Feb 27, 2013
Kim Rivers

Worcester city councilor wants food-truck issue revisited


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Tuesday, February 26, 2013




WORCESTER — 

Judging by the skirmish that broke out Tuesday night over the mere suggestion that the City Council revisit the city’s 2008 street vendor ordinance, the possibility of fish tacos and banh mi sandwiches off the side of a food truck still faces an uphill battle in the city.

At-large Councilor Frederick C. Rushton said he wants to put an order to take another look at the 2008 ordinance on the fast track. The 2008 ordinance, drafted after restaurant owners complained they were being unfairly undercut by street vendors with lower overhead, requires permission to operate from restaurant owners within 250 feet of a potential street vending spot.

Mr. Rushton said it’s time to examine how other cities have been able to strike a balance.

“It’s clear that over the past five or six years Boston has been able to balance brick and mortar along with the food truck,” Mr. Rushton said. “And they’ve done it in a systematic way. I think we can probably achieve that balance in the city of Worcester, where we respect the brick and mortar restaurants but we also keep the consumer in mind first and foremost, and some don’t want to sit down — they want to find gourmet food on the corner at the food truck.”

District 5 Councilor William J. Eddy said he would oppose any such measure. He used questions he posed to City Manager Michael V. O’Brien about complaints about street vendors before and after the ordinance to illustrate how it has worked.

At-Large Councilor Konstantina B. Lukes said she grew up in a family that owned a diner, and said it’s a difficult way to earn a living. Just because it’s trendy doesn’t mean it’s economically viable, she said.

But At-large Councilor Kathleen M. Toomey said she’s been approached by restaurant owners who want to branch out into food trucks. And District 4 Councilor Sarai Rivera said it’s a way to start small businesses in the city, and promote economic mobility.

Mr. Rushton said it was too early to fight over an ordinance that wasn’t even on the council floor yet. Still, he said he plans on getting something before the council for a vote by April.

“Do I want them parked all up and down Shrewsbury Street?” Mr. Rushton asked. “No. But somehow, by some miracle of God, the city of Boston has figured out how they can coexist, and in Providence, in Portland, in Denver, and every city that’s on the move. I’m just hoping that maybe we can learn from them and make that existence happen.”

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Mayor Bloomberg To Veto Attempts To Drop Street Vendor Fines

NYC Food CartNEW YORK, NY -  A travel food quarrel is brewing between Mayor Michael Bloomberg and a lady who wants his job.

City Council Speaker Christine Quinn is pulling a city to revoke fines faced by travel vendors, though a mayor described it as reduction than a good idea.

“Reducing a fines is one of a stupider things I’ve ever heard,” Bloomberg told reporters, including CBS 2?s Tony Aiello, on Thursday.

The mayor pronounced he’ll halt that “stupid” idea, while Quinn pronounced move it on.

“There’s never been a halt that we haven’t overridden,” Quinn said.

Quinn is pulling to revoke a limit fines faced by travel vendors from $1,000 to $500 and a mayor is pulling back.

“We wish people to follow a rules. If we revoke a fines, they will follow them less. The censure is they’re not following them now,” Bloomberg said.

The mayor’s indicate was illustrated on Fifth Avenue on Thursday.

City manners need vendors to be 10 feet from a crosswalk.

“I meant it goes adult to 15, 20 in a week,” vendor Leon Zayid said.

Find a whole essay during CBS New York here

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Feb 25, 2013
Jim Benson

Quinn, Bloomberg Clash Over Plan to Slash Food Cart Fines



CITY HALL — After years of complaints from city hot dog and halal cart vendors, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn announced plans Thursday to slash “punitive” vendor fines in half — an idea the mayor promptly slammed as “stupid.”

The new legislation, which will be voted on by the council next Wednesday, will lower the maximum fines that can be levied against vendors from $1,000 to $500 and will prevent fines from escalating unless vendors break the same rules again.

“The legislative package the Council will pass next week will ease the financial burden placed on street vendors and will clarify City regulations on where vendors can operate,” Quinn said in a statement. 

The measures will also bar vending near hospital no-standing zones and taxi stands, as well as within 20 feet of residential building entrances and exits.

To pressure Quinn to bring the bills to vote, vendors across the city had been pasting photocopied pictures of her face on their carts to complain about the fines, which are often written for minor violations, like setting up inches too close to a doorway or keeping their licenses in jacket pockets instead of hung around their neck.

“Street vendors are hardworking men and women who serve their local communities and make this city great, and they deserve the support of city government,” said Sean Basinski, director of the Street Vendor Project at the Urban Justice Center, which led the push.

But the move sparked outrage from Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who vowed to veto the bill.

“I think reducing the fines is one of the stupider things I’ve ever heard,” he told reporters during an unrelated press conference, arguing that lowering fines will only encourage bad behavior.

“We want people to follow the rules. If you reduce the fines, they will follow them less,” he said. “If anything, you should raise the fine.”

The bill has enough council support to override a mayoral veto, based on the members who have signed on so far.

Jill Colvin

By Jill Colvin, DNAinfo.com

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Feb 22, 2013
Tim Lester

Street Vendors’ Stories at the Autry National Museum

The streets of Los Angeles can be a harrowing place, what with gun violence, gang activity and the illicit selling of … food?

That’s right: Street vending — from unsanctioned pushcarts, that is, not food trucks — is illegal in Los Angeles. The irresistible-sizzling-bacon-wrapped-late-night-hot-dog, the warm-summer-chili-salted-mango-pick-me-up, the palm-sized-perfect-lunch-tacos-with-extra-cilantro — any item you may have indulged in from a ubiquitous L.A. street food cart was most likely sold to you without the city’s permission.

Because these carts are illegal, vendors are often harassed by gang members and forced to pay dues to sell on high trafficked corners; they’re also regularly hassled and ticketed by the police. And at the very least, there is absolutely no job security.

On February 19, a group of students, parents, educators and community activists from around Los Angeles gathered at the Autry National Museum for the opening reception of “Giving Voices to the Voiceless: Stories of the Street Vendor in Los Angeles,” an exhibit that aims to raise awareness of the sometimes bleak reality of our city’s street vendors.

The exhibit showcases artwork made by senior high school students of Los Angeles School of Global Studies (LASGS) after they ventured out into their communities and interviewed street vendors about their lives.

For this project, the students worked with East LA Community Corporation (ELACC) as part of ELACC’s Legalize Street Vending Initiative, as well as community organizations 826LA and Facing History and Ourselves.

The students and ELACC hope that their work will raise awareness about the daily hardships street vendors face and will help garner support for legislation that will legalize sidewalk street vending.

“The biggest problem is that people don’t even know street vending is illegal,” Janet Favela, a community organizer for ELACC, said on Tuesday.

L.A. County calls sidewalk street vending a “serious public health hazard to our communities” and often fines or shuts down vendors who sell their goodies on the street.

But, problematically, even vendors who have paid for an official street vending permit from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health and whose carts are completely up to health code are still prohibited from selling food from a pushcart on sidewalks in Los Angeles due to city laws.

“This project helped me start to see the issues that vendors have to deal with that go along with being involved in an illicit business,” Henry Landavrd, 17, explained.

The students had their work cut out for them: many of the vendors were hesitant to talk to the students about their experiences.

“When we were interviewing vendors, some of them literally ran away while we were talking to them because they were afraid of the police,” said Magaly Lopez, the 17-year-old Editor-in-Chief of the LASGS student newspaper.

“I tried to put myself in their position. If my parents were selling fruit and I had to see them run away from the police that would be so hard. It’s crazy.”

ELACC advised the students on how to approach street vendors, introduce themselves and avoid offending them. “But even then,” Miguel Andre, 17, says, “many of them did not want to talk to us.”

For Andre, this reticence made the project even more important. “The whole point is to lend our voice to the voiceless,” he said. “We are trying to speak in their shoes because they can’t officially speak for themselves.”

Tuesday night, many of the LASGS students echoed the sentiment that street vendors are important parts of their community.

“When I asked the class if any of them personally knew a street vendor, almost every kid’s hand shot up,” said Nicole Solig, who co-teaches the seniors in English and Social Studies with Naomi Sugimoto.

“My neighbor is a street vendor,” Andre said. “My babysitter is, too, and my aunt used to be.”

Students engaged in group projects to illustrate the presence of street vendors in their communities. One group created a photo collage featuring an aerial image of Los Angeles connected to other smaller photographs of street vendors and their food. Another wrote and performed an original rap song from the perspective of a street vendor, lending a first-person human element to the occupation.

“We wanted to show that we are all linked as one community,” Lopez said. “If we can help them, we are helping everyone.”

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Feb 22, 2013
Tim Lester

Quinn proposes lower fines for street food vendors


Mayor Bloomberg says it is one of the stupidest things he has ever heard. He’s talking about a plan to lower fines on food vendors on city streets.

The city council is expected to vote on the proposal next week.

For street vendors, a fine of anywhere from $200 to $1,000 is just the price of doing business.

Mustafa Tharuvayi has worked as a vendor for nine years. In the last two, he’s paid more than $6,000 in fines.

“Delivery comes, and they keep the propane outside for one minute or two minutes. They will come and give us ticket. $700,” Tharuvayi said.

“It means a lot for all working people, all street vendors in New York City. The fines are so high for them they cannot pay,” said Sean Basinski, of the Street Vendor Project.

The problem has become so bad that vendors took to putting up Speaker Quinn’s photo on their carts, pleading for help.

Thursday Quinn, who’s running for mayor, came up with a bill that would cut maximum fines from $1,000 to $500, but the mayor, he wasn’t happy at all.

“Well I think reducing the fines is one of the stupider things I’ve ever heard,” Mayor Bloomberg said.

Bloomberg, who’s been awfully friendly to Quinn, said he hates her latest idea.

“The public should understand exactly what this bill is about, it’s to not protect the public, it is to protect the vendors,” Mayor Bloomberg said.

Quinn seemed a bit taken aback by her mentor’s anger and she calls the bill fair to vendors and fair to the public.

“For law breakers to be punished you need escalating fines. This is going to help with that. But for the guy or gal who makes one honest mistake, let’s not whack the heck out of them for no reason,” said Christine Quinn, (D) City Council Speaker.

Quinn vows if Bloomberg vetoes her bill, she’ll fight back with an override and win.

Now she’s seen as a hero to street vendors, and it’s the mayor who’s their number one enemy now.

“The mayor doesn’t like working people. The mayor doesn’t like poor people. He hangs out with billionaires. We understand that,” Basinski said.


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Feb 21, 2013
Jim Benson

Food Cart Fervor: Mayor Calls Quinn’s Push To Lower Fines ‘Stupid’ Idea

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A street food fight is brewing between Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the woman who wants his job.

City Council Speaker Christine Quinn is pushing the city to reduce fines faced by street vendors, but the mayor described it as less than a good idea.

“Reducing the fines is one of the stupider things I’ve ever heard,” Bloomberg told reporters, including CBS 2′s Tony Aiello, on Thursday.

The mayor said he’ll veto that “stupid” idea, while Quinn said bring it on.

“There’s never been a veto that I haven’t overridden,” Quinn said.

Quinn is pushing to reduce the maximum fines faced by street vendors from $1,000 to $500 and the mayor is pushing back.

“We want people to follow the rules. If you reduce the fines, they will follow them less. The complaint is they’re not following them now,” Bloomberg said.

The mayor’s point was illustrated on Fifth Avenue on Thursday.

City rules require vendors to be 10 feet from a crosswalk.

A cart spotted by CBS 2′s Aiello was about six feet away. The vendor got three tickets on Thursday, which is about average.

“I mean it goes up to 15, 20 in a week,” vendor Leon Zayid said.

Zayid said last year he had to pay more than $22,000.

“That was a lot of money,” Zayid told Aiello.

Months ago, street vendors began plastering Speaker Quinn’s face on their carts, urging her to support measures to reduce fines and claiming they hurt struggling immigrants.

“We’re not trying to whack somebody who makes a one-time mistake, but if you’re somebody who thumbs your nose at the law, who acts recklessly, then you are gonna get fined repeatedly because that is just not allowable,” Quinn said.

Quinn said the bill the Council will pass next week is balanced and will reduce fines and congestion by banning food carts from heavily congested zones near hospitals.

The mayor doesn’t buy it.

“It is to protect the vendors,” Bloomberg said, referring to the current rules.

The mayor and the speaker, often allies, are now on opposite sides of this street fight.

The City Council votes next Wednesday, and Quinn said she has the votes to override the mayor’s veto.

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 Food Cart Fervor: Mayor Calls Quinns Push To Lower Fines Stupid Idea

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