City Considers Making Ride Easier for Food Carts

By Paige Browning

Spokane’s mobile food vendors could find an easier road ahead due to changes brewing in city hall.
 
About 80 food carts get permits through the Spokane Regional Health District each year.  The number isn’t noteworthy, but more people have inquired about mobile vending in recent years, according to Associate Planner Andrew Worlock in the city’s Planning and Development Services Department.  He’d like to see more mobile vendors in the city.
 
Worlock: “It kind of activates the street environment, and makes it a more active and lively environment. You know, it’s another set of eyes on the street, so potentially some safety benefits.  There’s a low cost of entry into the business, and so for those people that are interested in getting into the restaurant business, this is a good way to explore.”
 
Worlock and the city are hosting an open house on Tuesday to talk about how to ease regulations for mobile vendors. 
 
One idea is to throw out the “ten minute rule”, which bans vendors from staying put in a public way for more than ten minutes.  Worlock says this may work for the ice cream truck, but not to vendors who maximize access to customers by staying put.
 
Business and building owners are legally allowed to ask a food truck to move.  Another idea on the table is to clarify how far away they must move when requested.
 
Cities like Portland have become food cart havens.  The city of Spokane and the health district want vendors to feel attracted to Spokane’s streets as well.
 
Copyright 2013 Spokane Public Radio 
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