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 Post Posted: Mon Jun 17, 2013 1:15 pm 
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Joined: Tue May 21, 2002 12:00 am
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Location: The things, they hurt
I just read that San Francisco is about to pass new regulations that ban food trucks from operating within 75 feet of a fixed restaurant, within 500 feet of middle schools, and within 750 feet of high schools.

The ban around schools is ostensibly to prevent childhood obesity. When I grew up, there was always an ice cream scooter that parked right outside my school when school let out. San Francisco would make that illegal.

The ban around restaurants is for no reason other than to prevent mobile food vendors from competing with existing restaurants. Is there any good reason for that other than San Francisco's city council likes the restaurant lobby? What public good could possibly derive from preventing business competition?

For that matter, why should there be any restrictions at all on street vendors? Why shouldn't people be allowed to sell goods or services on the public street, which is after all, public? Why can't someone sell trinkets or T-shirts out of a cardboard suitcase? Why can't someone sell fruit out of the back of a van? Why can't someone set up a booth and offer sidewalk fortune telling or manicures?

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 Post Posted: Mon Jun 17, 2013 6:50 pm 
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Location: Vienna, Austria, EU
It is an inconvenience if street vendors clutter up places, that already have high trafic. And high traffic places will likely be the places most coveted by them. If they aren't registered it is hard to investigate if they have paid all their taxes. And it is harder to track them down, if customers sue them for selling bad wares. Having multiple vendors fight for good spaces is a bad idea from a public order perspective too. Their vehicles take up parking space, most likely in places, where that is already scare. And for food vendors, garbage like packaging will be left in public places, if you are lucky in public litter boxes, while fixed restaurants will have to pay for their garbage removal.

So in short street vendors tend to drain public resources more then fixed place vendors, while paying less taxes (at least property taxes).

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 Post Posted: Thu Jun 20, 2013 10:05 am 
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Location: Philadelphia, PA
That's why you license their use and designate spots for them... but it doesn't mean you crowd them out altogether. Philadelphia did a very nice job of striking this balance (for a while at least, I don't know about now). Plenty of street vendors available in convenient places, but you had no trouble getting by.

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 Post Posted: Sun Jun 23, 2013 4:06 am 
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Location: Vienna, Austria, EU
Sure, licenseing is generally a good idea, Kea had asked why there should be any restrictions.

How exactly you restrict them and what sort of fees you ask ect., would depend on how your city looks like and it also would be a value judgement, where i would consider only the extremes as in principle false, even if i might have an opinion where exactly it should fall. I don't really know the situation in San Francisco, so i can't say what should be done there.

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