Sunday, January 2, 2011

Food Truck Ban at Council this Tuesday

Food trucks are often-maligned but usually-beneficial additions to any urban environment. They provide a place for anyone walking about in a city to grab cheap food on the go, and in Southern California they're experiencing something of a resurgence, with trucks offering exotic, organic, locally-grown and freshly-prepared foodstuffs of a sort you'd never get from a chain restaurant. Importantly for this blog, street food is a cause and a consequence of a good pedestrian environment- great street food brings people into the street, and people on the street create a market for street food.

In most great cities (though oddly not much in San Francisco- they're apparently heavily regulated) you'll find carts and trucks of varying cuisines, quality and prices readily available to please the passerby. In our city, however, the government would like very much to make sure that never happens. An item is on the City Council agenda for this Tuesday (the 4th) that would restrict vendors to selling only prepackaged food items, which would effectively ban food trucks from the City. Worse, the item is on the Consent Calendar, which means it will likely be passed along with a whole multitude of other things unless it is pulled off by a Councilmember. If you, like me, think that food trucks could be a positive force for urbanism in Riverside (or you just like the thought of Mexi-Korean fusion tacos- ZOMG delicious!), please write your Councilmember and tell them to pull item 28 off the Consent Calendar and vote it down. Better yet, come to the City Council meeting at 6pm on Tuesday and speak out against the measure publicly!

(As a reminder, the City Council meets on Tuesdays at 6PM in the Council Chambers at City Hall, 3800 Main St., Riverside, CA 92501, a short walk from the downtown bus terminal and a slightly longer one from the Metrolink.)

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