New food truck rules upset D.C. vendors

D.C. food truck owners are fuming over new parking rules proposed by DDOT.

The new restrictions could stop them from conducting business and serving lunchtime crowds.

In Eastern Market, food truck vender Patrick Rathbone is unhappy about the proposed regulations from the D.C. government, which require 10 feet of unobstructed sidewalk next to parked food trucks.

"If we do have a line, we try to make it fold back that way...and it doesn't obstruct the entire sidewalk," Rathbone said.

Vendors say the new rules are too vague, because DDOT doesn't define what constitutes an obstruction.

"It leaves too much power, too much digression to the Department of Transportation," Rathbone added.

But the D.C. Food Truck Association says eight out of the 10 most popular parking locations for food trucks do not comply with the city's new requirements because of lamp posts and meters, as well as other obstructions.

Brandon Byrd, a food truck vendor, said, "Ultimately as entrepreneurs, it's important for us to maximize our presence out in D.C."

In response, Mayor Vincent Gray says he supports food trucks, because they create tax revenue for the city. Gray added he's open to changes.

But the regulations were created to ensure sidewalk access for everyone, especially the handicapped.

"There probably will be aspects of these regulations with which no matter who you are or what you represent people will not be happy," Gray contended.

The city is still accepting comments on the proposed rules, which need D.C. Council approval.

Meanwhile, food truck owners are circulating a petition to get the rules rewritten.