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Unclear Parking Rules Causing Problems for Nashville Food Truck Vendors

It is undeniable that there has been a recent boom of food trucks all over our city. Over the course of the growing obsession, Nashville has licensed 60 food truck permits to specialty food vendors looking for a place to park and sell their product.  The only problem is that the city has extremely unclear parking rules, making it difficult for food truck vendors to legally find places on the streets to sell their food.

After passing a health inspection and obtaining their business license from the Metro Country Clerk’s office, vendors are lost without guidance, unclear of whether or not they’re allow to pull up on any street and start selling.  These trucks attract a wide audience of fans, each attracted to the frugality and creative sense of the food.  Consumers can grab inexpensive fare such as milkshakes, grilled cheese, or chinese food without wasting anytime.  Carlos Davis, co-owner of Riffs Fine Street Food shared with the Tennessean, “So many people are discouraged that you have to make so many calls to get a direct answer about parking…Most people are so frustrated, they just give up and look for other places where they know they can park. There is still a lot to be learned and understood.”

Many other vendors feel the frustration, seeking answers to their unacknowledged questions concerning parking.  Parking downtown is especially limited, with increasing concerns about food trucks obstructing traffic.  Rules for selling food on sidewalks are specific and detailed while guidelines for pulling up curbside are ambiguous.  According to the Tennessean, “The issue will be discussed at next month’s Traffic and Parking Commission meeting, as Metro officials seek ways to cope with a growing mobile food culture.”  Until the meeting, a vendor cannot get a permit to block a portion of a street or parking space to conduct such activity, said Metro Public works spokeswoman Gwen Hopkins-Glascock (source) (picture 1) (picture 2).

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