By Michael McDowell
Will the Upper West Side be one day filled with vegan taco trucks, momo carts, or Thai on wheels?
It’s possible, if legislation scheduled for a Committee on Consumer Affairs and Business Licensing hearing Thursday morning continues to make its way through City Council to Mayor Bill de Blasio.
The proposed legislation would, over the next decade, gradually expand the number of permits for street vending and dismantle the black market on which such permits are currently leased. It would also create a centralized, interagency Office of Street Vendor Enforcement, to be operational by September 1, 2019, which would “exclusively enforce vending laws.” It would additionally establish a Street Vendor Advisory Board composed of “vendors, brick and mortar small businesses, representatives from community groups, labor unions, property owners, and city agencies.”
Council Member Mark Levine, who is a sponsor of the bill, called it a “win-win,” in an interview with the Rag.
“Street vending has been a cherished path to economic opportunity in this city for centuries, and it remains an important part of New York’s character and our street life. Street vendors, like everybody else, have to obey the rules, and we’ve never really had consistent enforcement. We’ve also had a problem of a huge illegal market in permits. This legislation would address both issues,” he said.