The D.C. Council on December 18 unanimously approved new legislation to keep food truck operators from occupying sections of D.C.’s E Street SW and 12 Street SW.
Food trucks have been reportedly squatting on some costly parking spaces as their operators collaborate with each other to permanently keep the parking meter spaces. The businesses in the neighborhood and other food truck operators complained about the issue, and it raised questions as to how the parking laws are generally enforced in the District.
D.C. Council members drafted new legislation to alter the D.C. parking laws so that tickets would be overly expensive at those Southwest D.C. parking meter spaces.
The bill will also allow the mayor to name those streets as “Repeat Parking Violation Pilot Zones.” The cost of the tickets are planned to increase for second and third parking violations by the same trucks in those zones.
According to D.C. Council member Charles Allen, for the operation of food trucks, the cost of the parking tickets is an acceptable “cost of doing business”.
“It’s the cheapest rent in town. It’s just a shell game. They’re sliding them around. It’s a racket,” he said.
The number of food trucks in D.C. has risen from about 115 in 2013 to 450 in 2018, as per the records. All food truck operators are not able to find parking spaces under D.C.’s food truck zone lottery program, which provides 100 food truck parking spaces every month.
On December 4, the D.C. Council gave preliminary approval to the new legislation, on which the second vote was held on December 18.
Chris Shorter, Director of D.C. Department of Public Works, said that the agency has received many complaints and inquiries about the food truck parking blockade.
“We know it’s a challenge, and we’re continuing to send our officers. Our parking enforcement is doing its best to ticket when it’s appropriate,” Shorter told News4 I-Team, which carried out an investigation into parking operation in February this year.