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Home | Newsroom | Miscellaneous | No More ‘No-Vending’ Zones, New County Health Permits And More For LA Street Vendors

No More ‘No-Vending’ Zones, New County Health Permits And More For LA Street Vendors

Published Feb 6, 2024 5:00 AM

Tuesday is shaping up to be a big day for L.A. street vendors — and the customers who buy their hot dogs, tacos, fruit salads and countless other products.

Tuesday morning the Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously 15-0 in favor of an ordinance that eliminates several so-called “no-vending” zones where street vending is prohibited, including on the busy Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Street vendors who’ve long opposed no-vending zones said they welcomed the ordinance.

Alvarado is among the street vendors who sued the city over no-vending zones in late 2022. The lawsuit alleges that no-vending zones conflict with SB 946, the 2018 state law that decriminalized street vending. Trial in the lawsuit is set to begin Feb. 15; street vendor plaintiffs and their advocates said that while they cheer the ordinance, they want the trial to continue.

City officials said the city ordinance could take effect in 31-40 days, depending on when Mayor Karen Bass signs it.

No-vending zones and tickets

The Los Angeles area is home to an estimated 50,000 street vendors, 10,000 of whom sell food. Over the decades, L.A.’s street vendor carts have become an integral part of the city’s culinary scene, selling everything from sliced mango to the ubiquitous bacon-wrapped hot dog that has become an emblem of L.A. street food.

After years of lobbying by street vendors and their advocates, Los Angeles decriminalized street vending in late 2018, as did the state of California. But it’s taken years for local jurisdictions to work out and finesse city and county regulations.

While street vending was decriminalized in most of the city of Los Angeles, eight busy and lucrative areas like the Hollywood Walk of Fame, Dodger Stadium, Universal CityWalk and several others remained off limits; vendors have since been prohibited from setting up within 500 feet of these areas, and those who do are ticketed.

The city ordinance eliminates these blanket no-vending areas, allowing street vendors to do business there; however, it would still allow no-vending zones to be set up for health or safety reasons “if there’s a farmer’s market, or there’s filming, or around schools,” said L.A. city councilmember Hugo Soto-Martínez, whose district includes Hollywood Boulevard.

Katie McKeon, an attorney with the Western Center on Law and Poverty who is representing the vendors in the case against the city, said she sees Tuesday’s city council vote as affirmation that no-vending zones shouldn’t exist.

“The way that I see the city’s actions is that they are worried about losing in court and they would prefer that a judge not rule on this case,” McKeon said. “And so they are making this 11th hour move in order to try to make the lawsuit go away.”