Albany Handles Food Trucks Like This:
From Michael Klein in Albany, NY:
When I arrived here the food trucks had taken over the meters near the capital, they only fed quarters when they saw an enforcement officer walking their block face, and the meters performed at less than half our system average (the food truck season is more than half of the year). Nearby restaurateurs were unhappy as they were competing on a playing field that wasn’t level, enforcement staff were frustrated, and the APA lost revenue based upon lack of compliance.
We already had a $15 per day per meter bagging fee (bag policy attached, and the amount was increased from $10 to $15 during 2002), and after discussions with city officials we made a customized arrangement for the food trucks and carts. In addition to the city permit fee to operate the food truck, there is an APA parking fee. Initially we phased it in for $5 per meter per weekday, and then for year two increased this to $10, and offered a discount for pre-paying the season. By the third year we went to a prepaid season basis at 50% of the $15 daily charge for bagging a meter, although we allowed some of the “on a shoestring” types to pay a month or two into the year, as they have poor cash flow leading up to the food cart/truck season. We provide special signage and red meter heads (rather than having to use a meter bag). Others may use the meters early and late in the day, and during the middle part of the day, the food trucks do a tremendous lunch business at the capital.
So it’s not hard to arrange parking for food trucks without much red tape, and having them pay for parking by the season (or month) helps maintain competitive parity for nearby brick and mortar restaurants.
I understand, Mike. However I guess I don’t know enough about enforcement. First of all, why were the enforcement staff frustrated? I notice that these trucks take up two spaces, on average. Were they feeding the meters for two spaces? Or one? You charge $1540 per year for the bagging fee. And the season lasts what, seven months or so.. that comes to about $10 a weekday. You charge about $1 per hour for on street parking. A truck that takes two spaces would prevent $2 per hour of revenue, or in a five hour period, $10. So it appears to be a wash.