I want to respond to your recent Comment column about food trucks, which seemed to misunderstand what I’m trying to accomplish with the L.A. business community (“Three Faces of Los Angeles” by Charles Crumpley in the June 21 issue).
The motions I put forth in the Los Angeles City Council asked for two things. One motion directs city departments to study and report back about the ways that other cities have effectively managed food trucks, particularly in commercial areas.
Meters are intended to stimulate parking turnover in high-volume business areas. Food trucks park for hours at expired meters, monopolizing public parking spaces and absorbing the cost of a citation as a business expense. These oversized trucks sometimes park in red zones, block driveways and/or take up more than one space in metered parking areas.
Secondly, I requested that the Los Angeles Department of Transportation work with the greater community and the food truck operators to address these issues and consider the creation of specially designated food truck parking zones adjacent to commercial areas. Additionally, the motion directs the City Planning Department to make recommendations on finding the appropriate place for food trucks in an ever-changing vibrant city.
Los Angeles is a city of villages – Valley Village in Studio City, San Pedro Village, Westwood Village, Larchmont Village, University Village and Atwater Village are just a few of many. The villages offer a sense of community and rootedness within the great metropolis of Los Angeles, which is extremely important. I want to protect those villages – where small business owners are very concerned about food trucks – and at the same time, I want to support this new, home-grown, burgeoning industry.
In the zone?
These motions began the public process on this issue and I welcome all input. We’re getting positive feedback from the food truck industry, in particular, on the concept of parking zones. The city has developed valet zones, loading zones and handicapped zones. Why not designated food truck zones?
In Crumpley’s column, he mentioned my support for Baxter Bioscience, which is expanding its plant in my district. This is great news for Los Angeles and for the North Atwater industrial area, which by the way, would be a great location for food trucks.
My staff and I have been working with Erin Glenn, leader of the Asociacion de Loncheros, who said the trucks are a great attraction, pulling followers from across Los Angeles. I agree. I believe in creating an equitable solution for everybody. A designated parking area in each business district or neighborhood is one solution.
We are also working with Matt Gellar of SoCal Mobile Food Vendors Association and existing businesses to identify feasible solutions to enable food trucks to support and fit into the existing villages of our great city.
Since my motions were introduced by the City Council on June 11, many business leaders and associations have contacted me to say they support these initiatives and want to participate in the public process of refining them. I thank them for being willing to roll up their sleeves and work with us on this compelling issue of our time.
The next step in the public process will be a hearing before the City Council’s Transportation Committee, which will be held Aug. 11 at 2 p.m. I hope the public will attend.
Tom LaBonge is a Los Angeles councilman who represents the Fourth District.
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