DC tweaking sidewalk restrictions for food trucks - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

DC tweaking sidewalk restrictions for food trucks

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They surrounded Farragut Square at lunchtime Friday. More than a dozen food trucks offering everything from Vietnamese to fried chicken and burritos to cupcakes.

"I think the convenience of it and also the variety," says Jasmine Byrd. "Right there at your fingertips. That's why I love it."

The park between the trucks is dotted with customers eating their hot meals. Nick Bralove says he works nearby and dines along the curb every day.

"My favorite part of the day is to come down to the food trucks and see what's available and try something new," he tells us right before buying a burrito. "About 15 to 20 trucks every day. Kinda hard to find something you don't like."

Trouble is, the food trucks are so popular their customers are blocking the city's sidewalks. And now, Mayor Vincent Gray's administration is working on regulations to restrict where these licensed trucks can set up shop.

"If they put too many restrictions on it, how are we gonna work?" asks Anh Doan, owner of the food truck PhoNation.

"When you give birth to a child, you better raise the child," Doan explains. "So if you're going to give us a license, you better let us work."

The mayor's office says it's not targeting food trucks, not trying to put anybody out of business. It says food trucks are good for the city - now bringing in new tax revenue. But the sidewalks, officials say, need to be clear for people to move, especially the disabled.

Current regulations were designed for restaurants with outdoor seating - requiring at least ten feet of unobstructed sidewalk. That's clearly not happening in some places where the food trucks stop.

The mayor's office says their decision making on this is still in the "comment" phase. They're open to suggestions through next Tuesday. The DC city council will have the final say - in the form of new food truck regulations.


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