A new study done by students at San Diego State University show Interim Mayor Todd Gloria’s justification for food truck rules don’t hold up and will likely be unenforceable.

missed target

Over this last weekend, students from SDSU did a field study on some of the more controversial proposed food truck regulations to be voted on next Monday, March 3rd in City Council.

The proposed rules that were analyzed include:

  • Ban on food truck operating on private property and the on the street in Gaslamp (157.0304)
  • Limit on hours of operation for food trucks when within 500 ft of any dwelling unit (141.0612.A.11)
  • Commercial & Residential property owners looking to host food trucks must obtain a Mobile Food Permit. (123.0602)

The results of the study answered the following questions:

  • Is there a public safety concern for pedestrians when a food truck is parked on the street in the Gaslamp Quarter of Downtown San Diego?
  • To what degree does a food truck increase the ambient noise level when operating between the hours of 11PM-2AM and how far does the noise travel with relation to the surrounding areas?
  • Approximately how many locations will be required to obtain a mobile food permit for food trucks operating on their property?

The findings of the field study included the following:

  • A food truck parked in Gaslamp does not impede the flow of pedestrian traffic.  In fact, restaurants seemed to clog up sidewalks more than food trucks.
  • A 500 foot radius is proven to be too extreme as a cutoff point and a more realistic and reasonable distance should be set between 25 and 50 feet, depending on the location.
  • It is estimate that 2,350 mobile food truck permits will need to be processed in order for food trucks to operate in a legal manner. This would require the city hire 5 full time staff just to process the paperwork.

The study results seemed counter intuitive to the press release that Interim Mayor Todd Gloria released last week which stated he wanted to create “sensible rules that address public safety.”

Food truck operators have been urging the city to show concrete evidence of public safety issues caused by food trucks, since this is the reason provided for the proposed regulations.  Food truck operators view the proposed regulations as anti-competitive and discriminatory.