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August 12, 2015

Drexel-area food truck vendors, supporters protest proposed changes

City Council bill would create a Drexel University District, which would put new restriction on vendors

Food Trucks Drexel University
Drexel University Thom Carroll/for PhillyVoice

Drexel University

Drexel-area food truck vendors and supporters have launched an online petition protesting a bill that would add new restrictions on vendors who operate near the campus.

The bill, proposed by City Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell, would create an official Drexel University District and, with it, would put new rules on food truck vendors operating within its perimeters. Each vendor would be required to pay an annual $2,750 fee equal to the cost of parking revenue for the street space a truck would take up for five days a week over a 52-week period.

Currently, food truck vendors feed the parking meters.

According to the Philadelphia Business Journal, the Drexel University District would cover 32nd Street between Market and Chestnut streets. Ten street vendors would be permitted to operate within the district (several sidewalk vendors would be allowed to operate as well).

A main issue with this model, petitioners claim, is that paying the hefty fee would essentially force the trucks to remain in spaces and would limit their ability to travel from location to location, an integral part of the food truck business model.

"City council is trying to shut down food trucks on Drexel's campus because they compete with on-campus dining options," the petition claims.
"The bill hinders the ability for food trucks to operate in their current state, one which we all love. Limiting food trucks would hurt the city more than help it. They help bring a vibrant culture and environment unlike any other. Food trucks, in all shapes and sizes, are one of the hidden gems of Philadelphia."

To date, more than 1,400 supporters have signed the petition, which can be viewed here.

City Council is expected to discuss the bill at a meeting in late September, PBJ said. To read the full Philadelphia Business Journal article, click here.