Can I get those regulations ‘to go’?

Slight revision of Minneapolis street food policy falls short.

Minneapolis has expanded its allowance of mobile food carts in the city, but University of Minnesota students shouldnâÄôt look for any exciting new taco stands to spring up on the East Bank âÄî food carts are still only allowed downtown.
The new vending rules, which are opposed mainly by existing restaurateurs not anxious for new competition, still heavily restrict the activities, placement, and numbers of street vendors. Like Sunday liquor laws, many of these regulations are senseless anachronisms that limit commerce and consumption. Portland, Oregon is a shining example of what street food can do for a city. PortlandâÄôs over 400 beloved food carts have helped to establish it as a destination city and have attracted national attention. Portland has also encouraged formal research on the phenomenon and identified a slew of economic and community benefits attached to food carts. In policy and in spirit, the city has embraced and encouraged food carts for over a decade; now, Seattle and other major U.S. cities are starting to catch on and follow suit. Even Saint Paul, our supposedly sleepy neighbor to the east, has ruled to allow food carts in most of the city with fewer restrictions. Of course, strict licensing, safety, and sanitation regulations make sense for mobile food vendors, as do some minor restrictions on placement âÄî including setbacks from other businesses and use of right-of-way, for example. Beyond that, Minneapolis needs to recognize street food for the good thing it is and start taking a more laissez-faire approach. Allowing food carts to spread liberally throughout Minneapolis will bring a flourishing of local culture, provide much-needed entrepreneurial opportunities, and help our transition into a more lively, pedestrian-friendly community. All thatâÄôs to say nothing of the flood of cheap, freshly made, high-quality food that would inevitably result âÄî a phenomenon University students surely wouldnâÄôt have cause to complain about.