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Feb 17, 2012 12:57 PM

New assembly bill could wipe out food trucks (in California)

"The food truck nation is fretting over AB 1678, a bill introduced into the California State Legislature on Tuesday a.k.a. Valentine's Day. But this was no love letter for fans of mobile food. The bill seeks to ban mobile food and beverage vending within 1,500 feet of elementary and secondary schools from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. when schools are in session. The bill was introduced by Bill Monning (D-Carmel), and already given support by the California Food Policy Advocates, which focuses on low income familes' access to affordable and nutritious foods."

"A statement from Monning's office reads in part: "Mobile food vending poses a threat to student safety as well as student nutrition. Mobile vending near school campuses incentivizes students to leave school grounds, which increases students' exposure to off-campus hazards such as heavily trafficked streets."

Of course this would have nothing to do with contributions from the restaurant industry.

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  1. I really don't have an issue with that restriction, can't see how that will 'wipe out' food trucks. I think it's the same as if they were to park in front of a restaurant.

    1 Reply
    1. re: cstr

      this reasoning is exactly why they're presenting it this way. it sounds innocent enough but the general public don't really understand how few areas comply with rules like this (not just this, almost all things that say you can't be x' within a bunch of things).

      here's an example of what's blocked out in san fransisco in just 1k feet within schools.

      if the restaurant people successfully lobbied to get a bill that's fine by me. i hate they're going about it in such a round about way.

    2. I don't think (gourmet) food truck's main audience are kids. I have a feeling this will have little impact on their viability.

      4 Replies
      1. re: chezwhitey

        While food trucks aren't likely soliciting kids directly this bill is the kind of red tape that will make doing general business harder. What if a busy spot that has a lot of local professionals who like to frequent the truck is also within the range of a school?

        I'm not familiar enough with the food truck scene in CA to say whether or not students leaving campus to get lunch at the trucks is a big enough problem to warrant legislation, but this seems like the kind of rule that will do very little good (after all, if the school has a rule about not leaving the grounds for lunch already the students who are leaving aren't likely to stop just because the food truck isn't there anymore) while it very well may hinder legitimate business.

        1. re: chezwhitey

          Apparently you did not look at the linked map ( that showed that in a very large proportion of Sacramento (used as an example), food trucks would be banned. Did you consider how large school campuses are (with their playing fields), and how many private and charter schools there are besides public schools?

          1. re: Encinitan

            But how many food trucks are currently operating in those areas? Without that that information the map is fairly meaningless in assessing the real impact of the legislation. The vast bulk of the area shown in the map appears to be suburban-residential, not target areas for mobile food vendors other than the ice cream truck. Food trucks gravitate to high concentrations of pedestrian traffic such as business and shopping districts. The author sounds the alarm that the bill will severely impact mobile food vendors without providing evidence that a significant fraction of mobile food vendors currently operate within the areas which would be prohibited.

            1. re: kmcarr

              Here's a map for San Francisco which shows both the exclusion zones (red) and operating trucks according to the SFPD.


              If the intent is to keep kids from eating junk off campus, the bill did not need to include preschools, elementary schools, and middle schools, none of which typically allow their students off campus.

        2. "Of course this would have nothing to do with contributions from the restaurant industry."

          Of course not. Students aren't going out to restaurants on their lunch break, and they are not likely to in the absence of food trucks.

          1 Reply
          1. re: GH1618

            Students will find faster service at the brick & mortar fast-food outlets & stores already established across the street or within a fast walk of their schools.

            1. Waste of time and money. More red tape to cut through.