Will Street Vendors Be Banned and Regulated in Los Angeles?

Street vendors serve an important purpose in cities across America. For example, they provide locals and tourists with a quick bite to eat. They provide jobs for immigrants and struggling artists. Street vendors also help a city showcase some its local cuisine. Unfortunately, all of these perks may be somewhat restricted in California. The reason for this is simple. Some powerful folks are interested in banning street vendors from popular areas in downtown Los Angeles.

At first blush, banning street vendors near popular areas seems rather cruel. Street vendors don't make a lot of money, and it makes sense to set up a stand where most of the people happen to be. However, most people forget that street vending in Los Angeles isn't allowed. This means all of these people could already be harassed for selling their items near Staples Center, Hollywood Boulevard, and other popular areas. The proposed regulations will actually make it legal to be a street vendor in most areas, but it will specifically tell vendors to stay away from certain locations.

The proposed regulations are part of an ongoing conversation about street vending in Los Angeles. For example, Los Angeles decided to decriminalize street vending only last year. People worried immigrant street vendors were in danger from President Trump, and residents didn't want immigrants to be an easy target for prosecution. However, the resulting decriminalization has allowed street vending to flourish. Now, many people believe it is time to explicitly regulate the practice. This would free up traffic in congested areas and create additional tax revenue.

Currently, the proposed legislation will require street vendors to obtain permits. They will also be limited to certain areas. In those areas, there will only be allowed two street vending carts on each side of the street for each block. Also, street vendors will be expected to stay at least five feet away from fire hydrants, outdoor dining areas, driveways, crosswalks, and any improved landscaping area. This limit extends to 10 feet regarding parking meters and parallel parking spots. It also extends to 20 feet regarding monuments, murals, window displays and more.

The proposed limitations make some street vendors and activists anxious about the outcome. The long list of restrictions will be a challenge for many street vendors to follow, and folks worry street vendors may be legally harassed again. What do you think? Should the city adopt the regulations? Let us know below!


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