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Baltimore creates 10 new food truck zones

Baltimore’s food trucks now have more than double the number of designated parking spots they were previously allotted.

Against a backdrop of five food trucks outside War Memorial Plaza, Mayor Catherine Pugh on Wednesday announced the creation of 10 new food truck zones across the city.

The spots, available to trucks on a first-come, first-served basis, are intended to provide more parking areas reserved exclusively for food trucks during the day. (Though trucks aren’t required to operate within the designated zones.)

The zones add to the nine designated parking spots for food trucks that the city created several years ago, most of them concentrated in the downtown area. Many of the 10 new zones are located near the city’s colleges and hospitals.

“We join the elite cities across the country who recognize what these trucks do for the city,” said Pugh, who was joined by members of the city health and transportation departments to announce the new zones.

Per city law, the food truck zones are at least 300 feet from brick and mortar restaurants.

Two local food truck owners, Nikki McGowan and Joey Vanoni, and the Arlington, Va.-based Institute for Justice have filed a lawsuit against the city challenging that 300-foot buffer rule. The suit is ongoing.

Gregory Reed, an attorney with the Institute for Justice representing McGowan and Vanoni, said Wednesday that the creation of additional food truck zones is an attempt to make the city appear food truck-friendly.

“The solution isn’t to add food truck zones,” he said.

“The purpose of the zones is to allow food trucks to operate where normally they should be allowed to operate anyway,” he said. “Instead of removing these onerous obstacles, you simply create a few more specific, narrow zones where they can operate.”

City planners worked with food truck operators and other stakeholders to devise the new spots. Each zone provides space for two trucks to park from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

New locations include:

  • Loyola University Maryland campus (Charles Street, near the Evergreen Museum entrance);
  • Rogers Avenue MTA Station (4500 block of W. Rogers Ave., near the metro station);
  • Mt. Hope Drive at Wabash Avenue (near the Borgerding District Court Building);
  • the Sinai Hospital campus (2400 block of Cylburn Ave.);
  • Coppin State University campus (2500 block of W. North Ave.);
  • University of Baltimore campus (1500 block of Maryland Ave.);
  • the University of Maryland campus (Pine Street between Vine and Fayette streets);
  • Franklin Street between Park Avenue and Howard Street;
  • Penn Station (St. Paul Street, north of Mt. Royal Avenue);
  • and Station North (200 block of E. North Ave., near the Board of Education parking lot).

The University of Baltimore and Franklin Street zones are in construction areas and will open once construction is completed.

smeehan@baltsun.com

@sarahvmeehan

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