Food truck regulation has been a controversial issue in many cities recently, and now Santa Monica has been the latest city to crack down on their presence. On weekend nights after the crowded Main Street bars begin to close, customers flock to nearby trucks, causing a slew of safety concerns and the necessity for an increased police presence.
On November 10th the City Council voted to ban food trucks on the stretch of Main Street between Ocean Park Boulevard and Marine Street in the early hours on weekends. Food trucks are only prevented from parking between one and three in the morning, but they will be unable to serve the crowds that exit from bars on these nights. However not all council members feel this solution sufficiently deals with the food truck problem, as trucks may just move a few streets down and and recreate this late night scenario.
Santa Monica’s motives in banning food trucks from this stretch mostly stem from the additional police presence required at night, causing an increased expense of $67,000 in overtime. Safety concerns are also prevalent, with intoxicated pedestrians jaywalking and crowding the streets. A video was captured of Main Street just after bars close, depicting pedestrians filling the streets and blocking parking spaces by sitting on curbs to eat their food. Overall food trucks create a party atmosphere, costing the city thousands of taxpayer dollars.
Others believe this is not necessarily a bad thing, discussing how removing food trucks might ‘sterilize’ the street. There is also the lingering fear that food trucks forced to relocate might move into residential areas, and cause further noise and safety complaints. In the end council members agree that they can always go back on the issue and assess their decision once the safety aspect has been successfully addressed. In 90 the days the council will return to session and review the effect the ordinance has had.
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