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[Updated] No Parking for Food Trucks at Venice First Fridays

[Updated] No Parking for Food Trucks at Venice First Fridays

Updated again: The Abbot Kinney Merchants Committee just sent out a press release about First Fridays, in which they announced that the "no parking" restrictions, lately enforced, will continue. Because the "general consensus was overwhelmingly positive," the Committee voted to extend the no parking for January, February and March of the coming year. To quote the release: "The open space reclaimed from enforced parking restrictions allowed tourists, loyal customers and the neighboring community to joyfully stroll the boulevard without the continuous congestion created by the food trucks." Food trucks will be on-site in the Brig parking lot.

For the previous update, published December 3rd, and the original post, turn the page...

Update: According to LAist, some food trucks and patrons are calling for a boycott of tonight's First Fridays. They quote Matthew Geller, CEO of the MFVA, who says that the decision to deny parking "affects the ability of our members to operate, limits consumer choice, and detracts from the overall experience of the event."

The original post, published Monday, November 29th:

This month's First Fridays, the popular street event on Abbot Kinney in Venice held the first Friday of each month, will include number of fun December-y, neighborhood activities, but it will also, for the first time, include a no parking rule, created to deal with the increasing number of food trucks that have filled the street. The rule will take place Friday, December 3rd, from 4 to 11:30 p.m. and will apply not only to food trucks but to all vehicles.

"This is an experiment," said Carol Tantau, the chair of the Abbot Kinney Merchants Committee of the Venice Chamber of Commerce, who described the current situation as a "free-for-all" that had gotten out of control. "We're parking challenged anyway down here," Tantau said this morning, as there are only about 125 actual parking spaces in the area. Recent First Fridays have drawn as many as 40-50 food trucks.

If you've ever spent any time on Abbot Kinney, you'll know it's a small place. 50 food trucks -- which typically take up 2 parking spaces -- crammed onto the street is kind of like fitting 50 Roy Choi's into the proverbial VW.

"There's no governance that controls what they [the food trucks] do," Tantau said, describing how food trucks will park passenger cars in the spaces earlier in the day as place-holders for the trucks, thus extending the parking problems. "It's the whole freaking day; it's crazy." Tantau says that the problem isn't the brick-and-mortar restaurants along Abbot Kinney ("the restaurants are full; that's not even the issue") but space.

Tantau, who said she had lunch with Matthew Geller of the Mobile Food Vendor's Association yesterday to discuss the issue ("he's pretty upset with me"), hopes that the food trucks will still come but park down on Venice Boulevard, where there is more room. The parking ban will not affect this Sunday's Abbot Kinney Holiday Walk, which takes place December 5th from 3-8 p.m.

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