SVP position on Food Truck bill

New York City Council Members Jessica Lappin and Karen Koslowitz have introduced a bill that would create special penalties for food truck vendors who park illegally on the street.  The text of the bill is here. There will be a hearing next Wednesday, June 16, at 250 Broadway at 10:00 am where people can come testify in support of the bill or against it.  

The bill is quite drastic. After two parking tickets within one year, the vendor would have their vending permit suspended. After three tickets, their permit would be revoked, meaning their business would be permanently shut down. The Department of Health would have no discretion – they would be required to suspend or revoke. The bill would only apply to food trucks, who park in the street, not food carts, who vend on the sidewalk.

The Street Vendor Project of the Urban Justice Center believes that food vending trucks should comply with the parking regulations, like everyone one. We see no reason to punish vendors for parking violations more severely (via the loss of their means of livelihood!) than other individuals or small business owners who park illegally.

These kinds of laws are frequently proposed because vendors are easy targets for this kind of legislative abuse.  In fact, SVP would support this bill, with one proviso – that it apply equally to all. Doctors who receive three tickets should have their medical licenses revoked. Lawyers should have their law licenses suspended. Plumbers and electricians who park illegally outside their shops should have their licenses revoked. And politicians who park illegally should be kicked out of office!

Of course that won’t happen. The bigger issue is this. The last few years have brought an explosion of creativity and innovation to the New York street food scene, mostly in the form of trucks. These vendors – most of whom don’t have the capital to open restaurants – are incredibly popular. They are investing in our economy and creating their own businesses during a time of financial crisis. They feed untold thousands of people delicious meals every day, usually at lower prices than are available in stores and restaurants. SVP  believes our elected officials should be supporting these small business people, rather than finding new ways to punish  them.

Please join the Facebook page we just created to encourage Council Member Lappin to reconsider this unfair bill: Jessica Lappin, why are you singling out food trucks?

Here’s the first email to Council Member Lappin, from Brooklynite Liz Schroeter.

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