The battle for the streets of Venice has moved — to a parking lot. And as of today, it looks like an accord may have been reached. A few of the food trucks that had been banned from parking on Abbot Kinney at last month's First Fridays, will be allowed to park in the lot of production company Bigfoot Entertainment (1301 Abbot Kinney) at the January event.
The lot, however, can accommodate only eight or so food trucks, according to Matt Geller of the Southern California Mobile Food Vendors Association (SMFVA). That's nowhere near the almost 50 trucks that had been regularly showing up for the monthly festival.
Which trucks will be able to park in the lot? That will depend on which trucks Bigfoot wants, Geller tells us. If all goes well on January 7th, the arrangement will continue, with different trucks each month.
Along with the fight over the Hollywood Farmers Market and the banning of new, standalone fast food eateries in South L.A., food trucks at First Fridays has been a major local food/land-use fight.
By November, the array of luxe loncheros showing up for the monthly First Friday event had grown to nearly 50. The Abbot Kinney Merchants Association (AKMA) voted to ban and the result was a (mostly) food truck-less First Friday last month.
Many shop owners were unhappy the trucks occupied so many parking spots, making it harder for potential customers to attend (and spend). In addition to lack of parking, some merchants and residents complained about the noise from the trucks' generators and radios and the trash left behind.
As part of the deal, negotiated between Bigfoot, the SCMFVA (which represents about 115 trucks) and the Abbot Kinney Merchants Association (AKMA), the lot will have trash cans in front of every truck as well as by the entrance and exit. Geller is working on bringing Porta-Potties to the lot and hopes to get 70-80% of the trucks plugged into electrical outlets, so they don't have to run their generators.
Geller is optimistic. “I think what we really want to try and do is mitigate any effect on the surrounding neighborhood,” he says. “I think with some discussions with the neighborhood council I think we can do that.”