PROVIDENCE, RI – The wheels are turning to loosen up restrictions on food truck vendors in the city of Providence.
Officials are looking into revising a decades-old ordinance that requires restaurants-on-wheels to abide by the same rules as hawkers or peddlers, including the two-hour limit in parking spaces around the capital city. This is just one of the restrictions that local food truck vendors have said is killing their business.
“They need to set up, do a lunch or dinner service for two or three hours, and then clean up,” said Eric Weiner, a food truck advocate who runs the website FoodTrucksIn.com. “Telling them to move makes it so they can’t park or make a living.”
The new law would allow food trucks to park in two-hour spots for up to four hours and to park in metered spots as long as they pay, said Councilman Bryan Principe, who sponsored the legislation. The Providence City Council votes on the new ordinance Thursday.
As the food truck trend has grown, cities across the country have sought to revise outdated regulations in order to accommodate the mobile restaurants. Providence’s ordinance hasn’t been revised in decades and doesn’t specifically address food trucks.
“The old ordinance was titled for peddlers and hawkers,” Principe said. “It just shows you the age of the ordinance.”
One rule that won’t be tossed is a proximity ban that prevents food trucks from setting up shop within 200 feet of brick-and-mortar restaurants, which Principe said is the courteous thing to do, though he doesn’t think food trucks are competition.