The D.C. Food Truck Association (“DCFTA”) activated its public relations and lobbying campaign to oppose the District of Columbia’s Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs’ (“DCRA”) second attempt to update the vending regulations in the District. On October 5, DCRA published proposed regulations to update the 30-year-old regulations which provide health and safety guidelines for sidewalk and roadway vendors but currently do not include food trucks.
In a continuous effort to encourage food truck owners to operate in designated areas and avoid overcrowding city streets, the Government’s most recent legislation establishes Mobile Roadway Vending (“MRV”) zones, wherein up to three food trucks may park from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. so long as the individual trucks hold operating licenses. Outside of these zones, food trucks are still permitted to park in metered parking spaces as they have been, provided they pay for the meter.
In spite of the flexibility that this legislation gives to food trucks while also clearing up traffic in otherwise crowded streets, the DCFTA vehemently opposes the newly proposed regulations. In particular, the DCFTA cites the need for dense concentration of food trucks during certain planned events as a primary incentive to turn down the Government’s proposal. DCFTA also objects to the requirement that an MRV may not be established “[w]here the adjacent unobstructed sidewalk is less than ten feet (10 ft.) wide in the Central Business District or seven feet (7 ft.) wide outside the Central Business District.”
Sidewalk vendors currently have a similar restriction, which requires vendors to maintain ten feet (10 ft.) and seven feet (7 ft.) walkways where they vend. Restaurants with sidewalk cafes must also follow strict regulations that maintain unobstructed walkways. Food trucks claim they are being unduly burdened by these long established rules for maintaining clear walkways for pedestrians.
DCFTA is lobbying the D.C. Council, which ultimately must vote on these regulations, and is asking food truck supporters to petition Mayor Vincent Gray to rewrite the rules. The public can still make comments on these regulations until 5pm on November 13th.
Comments may be sent to Helder Gil, Legislative Affairs Specialist, the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs at 1100 Fourth St. SW, Room 5164, Washington, D.C. 20024. Comments may be e-mailed to DCVendingRegs@dc.gov.