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Should L.A. ban food trucks from parking on city streets? Tell us what you think.

Tom LaBonge

TalkBackLAA Los Angeles City councilman intensified debate in the city over food trucks last Friday by introducing two motions that could lead to the trucks being banned on city streets.

One proposal from Councilman Tom LaBonge asks city staff to study what other cities have done and to look into prohibiting trucks from parking at metered spaces in commercially zoned areas. The other calls for a report on the creation of specially designated catering-truck parking zones.

Food truck owners and patrons -- famous for their fervor and their mastery of social media sites such as Twitter -- have mounted a campaign against the proposals and the councilman himself.

Someone has set up a Facebook page called "Los Angelinos Against Labonge." An online petition "against any city bill that would limit access to the food trucks" had racked up 2,000 digital signatures in just three days. Food truck supporters accosted LaBonge during his community bicycle ride Wednesday evening to complain about his proposals. On Twitter, where the controversy became a major local topic Wednesday, one post urged food truck supporters to attend the ride to tell LaBonge "you don't approve of his hatred of food trucks!"

The Times' Kate Linthicum reports on the growing food truck fight. What do you think? Share your opinions below.

Photo: Councilman Tom LaBonge, right, speaks with Dan Nathan about LaBonge's proposal to limit food trucks on Wilshire Boulevard. "Everybody in the building loves having the food trucks," said Nathan, who works nearby. Credit: John W. Adkisson / Los Angeles Times

Comments () | Archives (315)

These are hard working people that are try to make a living like everyonoe else. If they pay to park at the meter space and provide good food service to their patrons without creating traffic, why are they being targeted by the politician?

Personally I love the fast food and fruit trucks that come by the downtown LA office buildings every day, they provide additional choices to the otherwise a limited number of restaurants in the area.

i simply love food trucks and the delicious addition they bring to our already vibrant culture, but i feel like some folks on here are spinning this story a little bit. "...introducing two motions that COULD lead to the trucks being banned on city streets." he's not trying to get them BANNED, but the la times cleverly worded this article to get us all talking, and it worked. that being said, here's my two cents.

the first proposal seems simple enough. he doesn't want food trucks blocking access to city meters in congested areas, therefore cutting the revenue from said meters. fair enough, simple solution. food trucks should not be allowed to operate in these areas during the designated hours in which you have to pay the meter. most don't post up until after the metered hours anyways.

the second proposal, however, sounds a little silly.

"The other calls for a report on the creation of specially designated catering-truck parking zones."

Brown Zone: Food Truck Parking Only. If there's all this free space to be creating new "food truck parking zones", why not just make more regular parking spaces?

Roving food trucks like this are not needed. They spoil local areas with litter and hurt local "brick and morter" food places. I have never seen a food truck operator walk up and down a block picking trash (maybe right in front of his/her turck) before they left. For comments of all the taxes and licenses they pay for, think how much more money the city could get if they were in a real location, those same taxes and license fees plus real estate tax.

Where would the funding come from for the creation of specially designated catering-truck parking zones?

Maybe the LA City Council can borrow the money from the DWP??!!

I say - Tom LaBonge for Mayor - These mobile kitchens are part of Los Angeles culture some people say, even a landscape architect said, "they're integral to the city's landscape." I guess you all enjoy eating off of a gas driven, pollution spewing truck? Yucks! I think petroleum has gone to the brain, along with a potential lack of sanitation. Why not pack a lunch in a paper bag, or little lunch box, and sit under a tree, rather than having your fast food prepared from the -rear end- kitchen of a truck.

Not all food trucks have no hot water or a sink. Some of these truck vendors have stoves, sink, refrigeration, hot water, provide their own trash bins. Also, some of them always feed the meters. Now for the comments that paint the overhead costs of these food trucks as just the coins fed into the meter... HELLO? That customized food truck costs lots of $$$, and some of them pay all city required permits. The cost of the truck, fuel, employees, food costs are part of the overhead in addition to coins for the meter. For the ones that operate twitter, etc, and host events, that is additional overhead.
If they need to use the bathroom, uh, it's common sense - they go use a bathroom in a building - do you really think they'll just wear a 'Depends'? If the food being served is not clean, tasty, efficient and unique, the market will shut them down due to low demand.

I support this wholeheartedly. It's disgusting to see the trash left behind on the street in my neighborhood because of the trucks that park all day on my street in Hollywood. At night rats and other vermin are all over the street picking at whatever they can find.

It's too bad that sour apples have to spoil it for all, but unless the trucks monitor what people do with their wrappers and leftover food items, then I think all of them need to be banned. Get a brick-and-mortar building if you want to sell your wares - it's a buyer's market after all.

Get these roach coaches out of the city. Especially these taco vendors. They are an eyesoar. While you're at it, get rid of the fruit peddlers with their fruit stands in Westchester also. I can't imagine eating anything off these sources. The flies buzzing around and then I always ask myself, "I wonder if these 'food service people' washed their hands?"

I think all of these food coaches are a healty hazzarad that should be removed permanently from the streets of Los Angeles.

Has anyone seen these in Beverly Hills or Malibu?

Great entrepreneurship!! Keep them coming, and create more competition (lower prices, better quality)...


There shouldn't be a complete ban of the food trucks, however they should not be able to pull right in front of a restaurant and start selling their food. That takes away business from the restaurant or fast food place that are paying rent for that location and space.

The iTrucks of fast food, but with better quality!!! Love you guys!! How do I get Tweets?

AS long as we have no border control we will have "food trucks". But they should be banned from being within 200 feet of an existing resturant. The "fixed" resturant attracts clients and the food trucks profit fron that traffic with no expense to them.

LaBouge: Get your government nose out of L.A. businesses, food trucks or any other.

Ban them. They look ugly just like the 3rd world countries. But first ban those fruits seller on the off ramp exit. That is total ugly!

You want to eat? Go support those who work hard to keep their restaurants open.

Well I am a small business owner so I can see the established restaurant side of this but heck this is the USA and free enterprise is free enterprise, if the trucks offer better food and more competitive pricing then that is the reality. LA Streetfood (e.g Truck Food) is in a class by itself and should be encouraged as part of our unique LA culinary heritage. So long as health, safety and trash laws are strictly enforced (the same as a brick and mortar restaurant) then I say, let the BEST restaurant win!

Sure thing, AFTER LA COunty fixes all pot holes.
worry about that first.

Sure thing, AFTER LA COunty fixes all pot holes.
worry about that first.

For all of you worrying about unemployment for the truck operators, don't forget the restaurant workers - when the trucks rule, the restaurants have to let go of employees. So it is not about unemployment, but who you prefer to keep employed.

The trucks enjoy an unfair advantage of no rent and I suspect less regulations. I support leveling the playing field, limiting their activities and charging them more for parking.

When there were fewer trucks, this was not an issue. However their proliferation makes them a nuisance and I welcome Tom LaBonge initiative.

How about putting them in parking lots or a similar area like the LA Times mentioned in the article about Portland? A new type of farmers' market, but with trucks instead? This is from the LA Times article:

"Unlike most cities, where food trucks are truly mobile (and in many cases laws require them to move after a certain period), in Portland about 90% of its 400 carts never leave their spaces. Instead pods of food carts are nestled side by side in parking lots all over the city. They stay permanently at the location, paying a monthly fee of about $500."

The LA Times link: http://travel.latimes.com/articles/la-tr-portland22-2009nov22

I love the local food trucks and wish that they were allowed on our street, but our neighborhood council asked for them not to be parked nearby and those local rules have been honored. There's no reason to decimate a perfectly legitimate business for hundreds of local people when this can be handled in local areas by boards and councils familiar with the streets in each area. Food trucks may not be an asset to every neighborhood but they are a fabulous local asset to travelers, conferences and events and deserve the respect of this city.

They should not be banned, they are there because they need to work. Besides if you have not eaten from a truck you should try it, their food is good and the pricess are much cheaper than your restaurant. If a restaurant is afraid of loosing their customers it is not because of the food trucks it is because their food either sucks or the pricess are too high, or both....

Food trucks are an essential part of the culture of a large city! One of my favorite memories of a trip to Portland, Oregon last summer was wandering around their downtown and happening upon a long line of food trucks, all parked in a designated lot. If LaBonge doesn't want the trucks on the road, he needs to consider other alternatives from banning them outright. They aren't an eyesore - more an expression of the diversity and versatility of our city's culture! I am strongly in favor of keeping the food trucks.

In a time where unemployment is the norm, what sense does it make to cost even more people their livelihoods? I say let them do their job, sell that food- feed those workers-and stop looking for ways to make people's lives even harder. You could use the time more effectively trying to create new jobs instead of causing more employment loss.

I hope none of the people complaining about food trucks taking up space on city streets drive cars.

Finally a member of the council with brains - yes, please remove. The trucks are blight cause a lot of trash and take up too many parking spots. Some people think they are what makes LA - LA. Well let me tell all of you new comers - the trucks haven't been around forever they use to only be at jobs sites but ever since the city gave up on enforcement - seems like we have them everywhere. Enough with the law-less-mess!

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