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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)

Food tucks are not an issue for me...But those long diesels parked on city streets near homes or business are certainly a problem.

The noise and pollution from their engines running hours at a time. They block the view of on coming traffic especially along Jefferson Blvd near Houser.

On Sundays the congregation loses what little parking space there is on Jefferson & Sycamore Ave when not one truck is parked but two. One on each side of the street. They are a danger to see around when pulling out into traffic because you can't see around them until it is nearly too late.

The one food trucked parked on Jefferson does not hamper on coming traffic or create a problem what so ever, and they take up less space than those huge super long trucks that haul who knows what back and forth.

However, I can understand what the Abbott Kenny neighborhood is talking about too. It is difficult to find parking on that blvd. for the food trucks are often crowded together in a short distance from one another.

They do not provide enough trash cans for the disposal of trash left over from the purchases..It creates a 'ghetto' like environment when food trash is just dumped on the streets.

If I owned a small eatery on that blvd and I was losing customers due to the food trucks I'd be pissed off too since the trucks are getting a free ride so to speak. The businesses pay taxes and rent for their building.

Perhaps it should be a neighborhood, by neighborhood decision as rather a food truck can do business on certain main fare streets.
On some streets they are not a problem at all on others food trucks are nightmare.

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Food trucks are absolutely essential for poorer neighborhoods and downtown areas where demand for food drastically outshines the supply. These trucks are good at recognizing unfulfilled demand, and supplying people with convenient lunch and dinner options that they are able to get during their lunch break. There are many areas where there are so many people at lunch time that you cannot simply go into a restaurant, because it will take more than an hour. These trucks save the working class, I don't care if city councilmen think they look like blight, they aren't.

-USC Public Policy and City Planning student

Banning food trucks sounds racist. Perhaps Arizona will boycott L.A.

This isn't what Tom LaBonge got elected to do. Nobody's quite sure who elected him, and to do what, but this isn't it. And obviously, he has no clue either.

The guy's a lost soul.

I think it's all a plot by restaunts. They don't want any form of compatition. With money being so tight these days, food truck have become really popular. A family of say 4 won't go out to a restraunt and spend $70 or $80 dollars on a meal. But a food truck may cost the same size family, $20. I've always enjoyed the varity and freshness of food trucks.

At 9:00 am, when legal parking at meters begins (where I park) these food trucks have already taken every single space. My handicap permit is supposed to save me steps to my doctor's appt. etc. These oversized vehicles force me to park a long distance from my destination while they just take up space 'til their lunch crowd appears. They also employ 'stooge cars' squatting in the spots, with drivers at the wheel waiting, so that the trucks can roll up at a more convenient time. When they do roll up beside the stooge, the stooge pulls out and the truck pulls in. Totally abusive behavior. They should be banned from metered spaces. Metered spaces were never meant to house 'For Profit' business.

It’s not just about the parking meter costs. It’s the fact that the restaurants and other businesses lose out when there isn’t parking for customers. Why shop somewhere if you cannot park there. The businesses pay their property taxes, and for a multitude of permits that help employ even more people, not including the support staff that have jobs. The food trucks make their food at a small warehouse or even at the proprietors home and then drive to a more expensive location. Their operating costs are much lower, even with the cost of gas. Many “lunch” trucks often take only cash and report but a small fraction of the income generated.

No - ban those stupid advertising trucks from parking and using the streets. They're a waste of gas and cause unnecessary traffic.

Food trucks are the best. We eat tacos from the food carts every weekend and they are fabulous. Why take money away from the city when we are already in debt?

I think food trucks are fine - the real problem is LA's extremely overpaid, under- effective councilpeople. Start tackling REAL problems, folks.

Leave them alone
The officials of LA County Are abusive.people need to make a living. I hate how they Pick on the littlest thing. This is the city trying to get more money.

The city cannot bad trucks from city streets. It has been tried by many other cities and the courts have ruled that the State of California is the only entity that can regulate these types of activities. The City can regulate the operation of these vehicles on public and private properties. The City can also enforce its loitering and litter laws without trying to preempt the States control over the vehicle code.

"These trucks take up precious space on our city streets and quite frankly...aren't needed. This city has enough fast food / restaurants to serve every type of customer."

Rosee ... what are you talking about? Precious space? The city has enough restaurants? Says who? What does that even mean? My opinion ... these trucks are part of our L.A. culture. Until I read this article I had no idea there was any criticism of their existence. LaBonge is a another councilmember wasting his precious time over what should be a non-issue. C'mon, Tom. You can do something more important than this.

To the person who posted about food safety, if you're so concerned about it then stay away from the food trucks. Personally, I think they're great, innovative, make LA LA, and generate jobs, revenues, tax, etc. And they're just plain cool!

A better suggestion for saving money, reducing pollution, and protecting the health and safety of the public: ban idiotic, bloviating politicians like LaBonge who apparently have solved all the other problems of the city and have nothing better to do than pick on hard-working, self-sufficient citizens. The street vendors are self-policing, provide a vital public service, and contribute to the cultural mix of an otherwise sterile city. Leave them alone!

It is not fair to the permanent restaurants and eateries that pay the city tax and permits on top of rents among many more costs they have to pay. And it is also more difficult for health department to control these lunch trucks ( how about the trash they will generate, and these trucks take up our precious parking spots. If the city allow these trucks to grow and operate before we realize the city will look like a third world countries.

Just what we need more regulations we can spend money enforcing! yea right

I think LaBonge needs to get back to work on more important issues than trying to eliminate the food vendor trucks! Perhaps the city can eliminate of few of these useless city councilpeople from the payroll altogether, maybe that could save a few million dollars right off the top! Hmmmm!

As long as they are paying for the meter I dont see what the problem is. You would think they want the employees of these trucks to stay employed. Instead you want to basically take away their means of making a living! In these tough economic times it is difficult to rent a space so if you can take it to the streets and make a buck why not! Leave these food trucks alone and go tackle something like the city budget!

The City Council needs to crack down on these food trucks which set up six days per week in residential neighborhoods (without regard to whether there is a construction site there). There is no reason why they should be able to operate restaurants in front of your house six days per week to service people happening to drive by, and have customers standing in line and eating on your front lawn. That is the reality of what goes on and the City does nothing about it. In residential areas, these trucks should be limited to 1/2 hour only in front of active constructive sites. In commercial districts, the trucks should be limited to designated zones, or when and where there are street festivals.

The truck in the photo (parked on Wilshire in front of the Courtyard building) is right across from several restaurants that offer lunch options for about the same price. Yet the truck has an unfair competitive advantage that is effectively being subsidized by the city in the form of cheap rent (a parking meter vs. a commercial lease. I see nothing wrong with leveling the playing field.

ahhhNOOOOOO, for many that is the quickest way to get a good lunch instead of wasting 10 to 20 minutes of a 30 minute lunch break. LA needs to keep employment of all kinds in the area. and this is a great way to keep small business'. Those trucks are waaaaay better than fast food. they need to check them out instead of looking down there noses at them and how it looks on the streets. try a fresh HOT meal and talk with the patrons. Just my opinion.

I ride my bike along lincoln bl. often. and see one or two of these kinds of food trucks parked at parking meters, sometimes two spaces are used. and none of them put any money in the meters, they only use the space, not legal and equals lost revenue for the city, and if you ever get ill from consuming food from one of them who do you report it to ?? I say the ban is good. and this also goes for all the vendors who sell fruit ready to consume. where do these folks go when they need a toilet?? hygene is a big issue, but not for me because i do not support them or the people operating them.

PLEASE ban ROACH coaches... and street vendors.. say, where is their sink?

Yes, they should be restricted. There are trucks that follow procedure and are clean, but without regulation, there could be "pirate" trucks, placing peoples health at risk. Also when trucks park too close to a restaurant they take business away from those business that pay rent, employees and higher taxes than the trucks creating an unfair situation. I agree with the proposal. Those trucks DO create an eyesore.

 
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