In some ways, last night's Downtown Art Walk looked exactly the same as it has for the past couple years: gallery hoppers, drunken revelers and pedestrians all enjoying the breezy street fair vibe. In one important way, it looked very different: no food trucks clogging the Historic Core's main drag.
Starting this month, the City Fire Department and County Health Department will no longer issue any permits for vending between 3rd and 7th street and Spring and Main, areas identified to be overly congested by art walk activities. Instead, both agencies will work with interested vendors to expedite permits for tomorrow's art walk in areas outside this zone, with the hopes of supporting the growth of the event outside the four-block area.
The initiative is the work of the Downtown Art Walk Task Force, started by city council members Jose Huizar and Jan Perry. It comes in response to the death of a 2-year-old during last month's Art Walk.
Although the death occurred largely due to pedal error — a man lost control of his Cadillac while trying to parallel park, and the car jolted into a crowd of pedestrians on the sidewalk — let's blame the food trucks.
Frankly, most of the stuff on display at Art Walk has always looked like a bad undergrad end-of-semester show, so anything to make it more palatable, even overpriced, mediocre fusion tacos, is a blessing.
In all seriousness, local business and the police have understandable concerns about what has become a monthly Spring Break on Spring Street, but if we're blaming food trucks for bringing crowds to Art Walk, shouldn't we also be shutting down all the bars and restaurants that anchored the downtown “revitalization” our fine City Council is always crowing about?