D.C. frees up more parking for food trucks

WASHINGTON – A years-long food fight has finally simmered down, and food trucks are here to stay.

The messy bit between city leaders and food truck owners had been about where they could set-up shop.

When proposed regulations came out earlier this spring, food truck operators howled that they were effectively being run out of town. Some actually threatened to leave.

The Food Truck Association warned that trucks would become illegal in most of downtown, where foodies, lobbyists and staffers alike go for their fix.

In May, Dubliner Restaurant owner Gavin Coleman favored the proposed rules saying, “it is often hard for me to see the council give so much attention to businesses that are often not even based in our city as opposed to hundreds of restaurants that are based in the city.”

Andrew Kline with the Restaurant Association of D.C. also wanted change because the trucks “interfere with visibility of other businesses.”

But the D.C. Council on Tuesday gave a thumbs-up to toned-down regulations.

The vote frees up more spaces downtown, sets expired meter fees at $50 (instead of the potential of a $2,000 ticket) and shrinks designated areas from which food trucks would have to stay away.

The regulations “ensure that food trucks will be allowed to continue to operate and then continue to grow,” says Che Ruddell-Tabisola, the FTA political director.

One key amendment he cited allows trucks to park along sidewalks that have at least six feet of unobstructed space. Before, the proposed regulation had called for ten feet, which truck owners said would keep them from downtown.

The bill now goes to D.C. Mayor Vince Gray.

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WTOP’s Thomas Warren contributed to this report. Follow @WTOP on Twitter.

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