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Common Council bans food trucks on busy stretch of National Avenue

Posted at 4:15 PM, Feb 27, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-27 17:39:27-05

The Milwaukee Common Council voted this week to ban food trucks on a busy stretch of National Avenue — from 27th Street to the city limits at 39th Street.

The area is in Alderman Bob Donovan's district.

He sponsored the proposal, which now heads to Mayor Tom Barrett for his signature.

Donovan said he introduced the measure after complaints from a business in the area of a food truck parking in two-hour spots at 37th and National and remaining there all day.

"We'd received complaints from one of the businesses in the area that the vendor was sitting there all day taking up parking spots for this business," Donovan said.

He said his office attempted to contact the food truck owner on "several occasions" but never got a response.

"We were hopeful the vendor would abide by the law and move his truck every couple of hours to another location," Donovan said. "But apparently that wasn't the case."

It's not the first time Donovan has introduced such a measure. The council has previously voted to ban food trucks on other busy arteries in his district — among them stretches of Greenfield Avenue, Lincoln Avenue and Mitchell Street.

Food trucks are also banned on Brady Street and a stretch of 76th Street.

Donovan said he encourages food truck vendors around Milwaukee to park in approved stretches of roadway and obey parking laws — such as purchasing time for an all-day spot at a parking meter or moving their vehicles every couple of hours.

"I do feel a greater obligation to the brick and mortar, property-tax-paying businesses that are in my district than I do to a vendor truck," Donovan said. "If someone wants to call that discrimination, God bless them. I'm just doing the best I can."

But Francesco Santos, who owns the food truck at 37th and National — Taqueria Arandas — said he disagrees with the city's decision.

He said he's been operating at that spot for roughly 10 years, and that moving the truck isn't always easy, especially when there's snow piled up on both sides of the street.

"There's always space (to park) around here," he said.

"I don't think this is a good thing," Santos said. "They should leave us in one place. Because all of the customers know where we are, in the same place, and they come and look for us at this corner."