The mobile food service industry is trying to take its walk-up-and-eat game to new levels in Atlanta. The Atlanta City Council is expected to vote today on a proposed ordinance that would loosen restrictions on where Atlanta's food trucks can operate. The ordinance would create public right-of-way vending, allowing for a program that lets food-truck vendors to set up shop in public parking spaces in limited locations around town. The guinea pig site would be the "Government Walk" area of downtown, according to a blog post by Greg Smith, Atlanta Street Food Coalition president. For those unfamiliar (besides everyone), Government Walk is home to important government buildings — the State Capitol Building, Atlanta City Hall, the Fulton County Courthouse, among others — teaming with hungry folks in suits. The area is a food-service dead zone, leaving thousands of workers and visitors wanting on typical business days, Smith writes. If the legislation passes and food trucks flourish downtown, the program would branch to other areas of town, including places that aren't so bereft of food offerings.
According to Smith, leaders hope to expand the program to a number of city parks during Friday nights this spring and summer. Those include: Historic Fourth Ward Park, Candler Park, Perkerson Park, Center Hill Park, East Lake Park and John A. White Park.
Under the new program, the city would cap the number of parking spaces at 18 at any given time, available to vendors on a first-come, first-served basis, Smith writes. Those spaces would be available from 7 a.m. to midnight. The program would be something of an about-face for the city, which was shutting down food-truck operations in Virginia-Highland and even the Atlanta Food Truck Park in 2012, citing licensing issues. Come to think of it, the Inman Park food truck lot didn't last long, either.