Anti Street Vending Law Officially Introduced; Opposition Growing Louder

Yesterday, as expected, the New York City council officially proposed the law that would revoke the permit of a food truck if it gets three parking tickets. As we explained on Tuesday, not only does this law unfairly punish food truck vendors- who represent a tiny percentage of the commercial trucks that park in this city- but it will effectively end vending from a food truck in this city (the food carts are not effected by the law.) Yesterday the Wall Street Journal blog interviewed Council Member Lappin (the sponsor of the proposed law) and she “disputed the notion that food trucks would be put out business by her proposal. ‘They have to abide by the rules, that’s the deal,’ she said. ‘They are supposed to be mobile.’”

Miss Lappin’s belief that this law will not put *all* food trucks out of business shows her lack of understanding of how street vending works in this town.

The laws on the books regarding where food trucks are and aren’t allowed to park are not entirely clear. Some police officers are not even sure what the actual laws are, so enforcement is not consistent. Oftentimes a food truck will be told a spot is legal by an officer on one day, only to be ticketed the next day by a different officer.  They can fight these tickets in court (and the Street Vendor Project will often help) but it’s time consuming and means lost revenue because they can’t be on their truck. Can you imagine if your driver’s license was revoked after 3 parking tickets? In other words, food trucks are no different than any other vehicle.  As hard as you try to follow the rules, sometimes tickets are unavoidable.  And to take away a person’s livelihood for 3 parking tickets in a 12 month period is too harsh a penalty.

I understand Miss Lappin’s frustration, and she is absolutely correct in stating that commercial vehicles need to obey the letter of the law.  Nobody is disputing that.  But if protecting parking spaces, or punishing commercial vehicles for not obeying parking laws is the actual motivation for this law, why not expand the law to include all commercial vehicles?  The answer is simple.  This is not about making parking in the city better, or about getting commercial vehicles to obey the laws.  It is well known that large delivery truck companies see parking tickets as an unavoidable expense, and continue to park illegally all over the city.  And there are far more delivery trucks than food trucks, and some of them spend far longer parked in commercial spots than food trucks (most of which spend 3-4 hours max in any one parking space… not a “full day” as Lappin claims.)  Why not go after all commercial vehicles that break the law?  It’s because this isn’t about parking, or about breaking the law.  It’s about food trucks- and the large brick and mortar businesses who don’t want them around.

Lappin made it clear once again that she is *not* anti-vendor, telling the New York Post this morning “she regularly buys gyros, hot dogs and ice cream from trucks”. Well, as much as she would like to believe otherwise, this law will put all food trucks out of business.  If she truly isn’t anti-vendor, she’ll abandon this unfair and overly harsh law and work with the food trucks, local businesses, and consumers to come up with a system that allows food trucks to do business legally in this city, in a way that is acceptable to everybody.

There are valid arguments for why food trucks should not be allowed to park on the street and vend.  And, as we know, there are a large number of people who find them to be  a nuisance.  If the City Council would like to have that discussion, let’s have it.  But passing this law, which will make it impossible for food trucks to stay in business, under the guise of enforcing parking laws for the good of the people is completely disingenuous.

If you want to protect food trucks against this law, there are a few ways to make your voice heard.  Oleg from the Schnitzel & Things Truck has set up this online petition for people to sign, and the Street Vendor Project has set up a Facebook Group asking Council Member Lappin why she is singling out the food trucks with this law.

New York City Council to Introduce First Anti-Food Truck Law
Food Truck Owners React to New Proposed Law
Prediction: New Carts & Trucks Are About to See Some Serious Backlash


  • The problem with this proposed law is that it does absolutely nothing for the people.

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    Welcome to Bloomberg’s NY, Danny. This kind of stuff has been going on for a while now.

    This third term, and anyone and everyone who voted the guy in for it, is a disgrace.

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    @Goats: If they even look at it. I used their web form to request some information unrelated to the food truck law and got no response.

  • i wonder if she’ll “regularly” be visiting food trucks after the proposal (and before they disappear from the streets). Hope she’s got an iron stomach because she will likely be getting some extra white sauce from now on.

  • I facebook messaged that bitch as well….just in case she doesn’t get my missive from her website. That bitch is f’ing corrupt as shit for doing this—-how does this even begin to serve the people she represents….

  • I wrote to her and here was her reply:

    Thank you for your email in opposition to Introduction 272, a bill which would change the city enforces feeding the meter and idling regulations on mobile food vendors.

    Food vending trucks are part of our city’s food landscape. I hope that they will remain that way. But they are not exempt from the laws that are already on our books. My bill does not ban food trucks, but changes the way we enforce two key illegal acts: 1) idling for more than 3 minutes, which pollutes our air; and 2) feeding parking meters.

    Food trucks have a license to operate as a mobile business. That means, by definition, they are required to be mobile. That’s what they agreed to when they got the permit in the first place. There are trucks that now take a parking spot and use it to vend all day long. They take the same space every day for hours on end. That isn’t legal and it isn’t right.

    The city streets belong to the public, not to any one business owner. Food trucks can park somewhere for an hour or two, depending on the regulations, and still sell their wares. They can use twitter and blogs to communicate with their customers. But they are not allowed to take over a parking spot forever for their own use.

    Unfortunately, some mobile vendors are doing just that and view tickets as a cost of doing business. My bill seeks to change that.

    I’m sorry we could not agree on this issue. Please feel free to contact me should you have additional questions or concerns.


    Jessica Lappin

  • Does she not understand that a truck has to remain in place longer than 3 minutes in order to do it’s business?

  • Same here. Same response. Pathetic.

  • I asked her to define “mobile” Her definition is based on a truck moving around every couple hours. I told her that “mobile” needs to be something specific. Having a truck in a different place every day is quite mobile! PLUS, if the truck only has to move every couple hours, does moving three parking spots down the block count? In the end the truck is still in a space on the street…what difference does it make WHAT spot it is and for how long?

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    I have a slightly opposing view, but please feel free to correct me if I am wrong.

    First, I am vehemently against the bill because of the anti food truck vendor sentiment. Further, blindly penalizing all truck vendors seems vindictive, especially since truck can be ticketed for these violations while not vending, such as when unloading. And more broadly, these violations can apply to all commercial vehicles.

    Looking at the specific parking violations the bill states, it focuses on:

    1. parking in a meter space for more than
    one time period lawfully permitted in that parking meter zone or depositing any additional money to extend that time
    2. parking when parking is prohibited
    3. idling for more than 3 minutes

    Food truck vendors are expected to adhere to all NYC parking rules. If they violate the rules, they should be ticketed and fined. Some of the vendors cited in the articles say they receive more than 3 tickets a month. If you’re getting more than 3 tickets a month for the above mentioned violations, you’re obviously breaking the law and vending somewhere you shouldn’t. It looks pretty black and white to me. So, if you’re a food truck vendor, following all the laws of the city, you shouldn’t be worried about this bill.

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    @Chris – good point. Laws should be obeyed.

    So should moving trucks, delivery trucks, courier trucks, movie production trucks, FedEx trucks, locksmith vans, taxi cabs, dollar vans, (do I need to go on?) all lose their livelihoods permanently if they get three tickets?

    The uproar would be unanimous and instantaneous were this law to be applied fairly to ALL working vehicles in NYC. This is a council member deeply in the pocket of the NYC real estate hegemony and who is doing their dirty work to get rid of mobile food trucks in a sneaky, duplicitous manner. Period.

    Perhaps simply doubling the ticket cost while AT THE SAME TIME clarifying where they may park legally, and giving them protections against that cops that roust these guys at the behest of building managers, would be a more workable idea.

    Workable, that is, if the actual plan behind the law weren’t to drive these guys out. Which is exactly what the plan is.

  • I just sent a message and told her she was a bigger horses’ ass than even the mayor.

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