Herald-Leader Editorial

Middle ground on food trucks; Council should OK pilot program

May 8, 2013 

Customers lined up for food on Friday, April 27, 2012 at a lot between Vine St. and Main St. in Lexington, Ky. This was the Bluegrass Food Blast, an event to share with Lexington the culinary offerings of mobile vendors.

DAVID PERRY | STAFF — Lexington Herald-Leader

It is really hard to understand why it's taking so long to create even a pilot program for food trucks on public property in Lexington.

It's certainly not for lack of effort. Urban County Councilwoman Peggy Henson worked on the issue for two years before new council member Shevawn Akers took it up this year.

In February, based on a recommendation coming out of Akers' committee, the council did ease the bureaucratic load on trucks operating on private property.

But creating an environment where these mobile food vendors can set up in public parking spaces has remained a very difficult task.

We've said this in years past and we'll say it again: The council should pass an ordinance to allow food trucks on public spaces.

At a meeting last week, Akers' work group discussed a proposed ordinance that would allow trucks in specified zones with a provision that it be reviewed in a year.

That seems like a perfectly reasonable approach. It's one that doesn't make everyone happy — the food trucks want more freedom, the brick and mortar restaurants more restrictions — but that's OK.

Akers will present this proposal to the entire council next week, on May 14. We hope it will pass in time for food trucks to be in place this summer to give both types of business, and city officials, a chance to see how this works.

More importantly, it will give people who just might want to spend some time outside downtown a wider array of food choices.

The sit-down restaurant scene downtown has exploded in the last few years, almost exclusively through the efforts of local entrepreneurs.

They deserve consideration in any action that could harm their businesses but our observation is that they succeed thanks to hard work and a dedication to quality, not because they've been protected from food truck competition.

This community has made huge investments in the center of the city with both public and private money. Those include the restoration of the Kentucky and Lyric theaters, development of Triangle and Thoroughbred parks, improvements to Limestone Street, investments in parking, the free trolley system, bike lanes, the revitalization along Jefferson Street, and a slate of public events like Thursday Night Live and the Fourth of July festival, just to name a few.

That story continues with plans for the Rupp Arena district and the Town Branch Commons projects.

The goal of all this effort is to have a lively, vibrant downtown that attracts and welcomes people. Giving food trucks a chance is one more way to make that happen.

Lexington Herald-Leader is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service