Council should fast-track food trucks

June 14, 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 time for the Urban County Council to take action to put food trucks on the streets of downtown Lexington. This saga has gone on too long.

When the council meets Tuesday it should fast-track the six-month pilot project that's been vetted through committee, the entire council and the Lexington Parking Authority.

The perils this effort has undergone to this point are too lengthy and convoluted to recount here but, after over two years, it's time to give this a try.

The Parking Authority board approved six zones where food trucks can operate by paying to use public parking spaces.

Unfortunately, the board allowed trucks to stay in one space for only two hours at a time during the business day, a limitation that some truck owners say could scuttle the deal for them. It takes time to set up, open up and fire up to begin producing food. With only two hours to do all that, conduct business and close up, they say the numbers won't work.

The council should direct the Parking Authority to compromise on that time limit, depending upon the demand for parking spaces.

If experience shows there are empty spaces in the areas where the trucks are operating then let them stay longer. If, on the other hand, the spaces are packed and people trying to do business downtown can't park, it's a reasonable restriction.

We hope food-truck operators will seize this opportunity and make every effort to work within the limitations to offer their wares downtown.

The big picture here is simple but very important. Lexington is working hard and investing heavily to create a lively, engaging downtown where people enjoy working, living and playing.

The entire community will benefit from making that happen, even those who rarely visit downtown. Food trucks should be part of that scene and the only way to figure how to integrate them into our downtown is to test the waters with a pilot program.

The council should act quickly and positively on this proposal.

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