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This morning, at the conference of the International Council of Shopping Centers, a trio of economic development bigwigs—at the end of a discussion about large empty malls that need filling—were posed with a surprising question: Does your jurisdiction support food trucks?
Steve Moore, head of the Washington D.C. Economic Partnership, indicated his recognition of the cold welcome food trucks have received in brick-and-mortar circles—but seemed excited about the new concepts in development that will allow for much more elaborate menus, and spoke of long lines for lobster salad rolls. “I think this is hot,” Moore said.
Val Hawkins, head of the Alexandria Economic Development Partnership, answered that his City Hall has been trying to start a food truck vending program for a while now, but hadn’t even managed to fill the eight spots set aside. “We’re having a devil of a time in getting the purveyors to participate,” he said. “It is a struggle for us right now.”
But Kwasi Holman, of the Prince Georges County Economic Development Corporation? No love. “There has been more of a movement towards eliminating those kinds of uses in the county,” he said. (And he’s right—P.G. won its war on food trucks years ago). And then, Holman blamed the infeasibility of food trucks in the future on traffic patterns. “I don’t see in the short term that being a predominant use in the county because of how traffic moves and how we’re configured,” he said.
Which I guess means there’s no place for trucks to stop?