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Got something to say about the future for food trucks in D.C.? You have until 5 p.m. today to submit a comment to the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs. Email DCRA Legislative Affairs Specialist Helder Gil at DCVendingRegs.dc.gov.
Under the proposed rules, the city would create 23 special zones—from Farragut Square to Union Station to L’Enfant Plaza—where a limited number of food trucks would be allowed to vend. Each zone would have at least three parking spots, but the maximum number has not yet been determined. Food trucks would participate in a monthly lottery system to determine who got spots for each weekday, and those who don’t have a spot will have to stay at least 500 feet away from the zones. In the central business district, mobile vendors would also be limited to metered parking spaces with at least 10 feet of unobstructed sidewalk.
The food truck community has rallied against the proposed regulations, saying they could put many trucks out of business. The Food Truck Association of Metropolitan Washington argues that the proposed rules are all about restricting competition and consumer choice, not protecting public health and safety. The group is also soliciting $5 donations to help fund basic campaign materials like fliers, posters, and stickers.
Meanwhile, Mayor Vince Gray‘s spokesman Pedro Ribeiro told Y&H the situation is not as dire as food trucks make it out to be. He says the regulation are meant to balance the interests of food trucks, commuters, bikers, and restaurants. (The Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington expressed support for the regulations.) Ribeiro says the city is trying to create more opportunities for trucks by opening up spots along the National Mall and creating designated spaces at the St. Elizabeths campus near Congress Heights in Ward 8.
The D.C. Council’s Committee on Business, Consumer and Regulatory Affairs was supposed to hold a public hearing on the regulations on April 30. But the Post reports that the hearing has been delayed until May due to a scheduling conflict. (No exact date yet.) The Council must vote on the regulations by June 22.
Photo by Darrow Montgomery