DENVER (KDVR) — A new decision about the restrictions on food truck vendors in Lower Downtown has been laid out by the city, leaving owners still frustrated by the situation.
In late July, shortly after Denver police officers shot a suspect and hurt six others on Larimer Street, food trucks in LoDo were shut down and forced to move. The city said this was a safety effort to lessen the crowds outside the bars. Now the ban is being lifted, but at a limited capacity.
The restrictions include limited hours and locations where trucks can operate. The city believes this temporary rule strikes the right balance to keep with the effort of allowing food vendors to operate while keeping people safe.
But vendors like Lelani Johnson, owner of RJ’s Tacowich, said it’s not even going to be worth it anymore.
“I’m not even going to go down to that part of town. I am not going to try to fight for those limited, restricted spots because it’s just not going to be worth it,” Johnson said.
LoDo food truck rules limit hours of operation
The temporary rule that’s frustrating trucks like RJs is establishing a “restricted area” for food trucks where they can operate on the weekends from 5-9 p.m. Johnson said that doesn’t even cover peak hours in the area, the main reason truck owners go to LoDo.
“The majority of our sales happen between 12 and 2:30 a.m. and if we have to be off of the street by midnight, then we are taking our last sale at 11:30, and it’s just — at that point, it’s not worth it. So now I’m scrambling to figure out what to do.”
A limited number of trucks will be allowed out until midnight, spaced out on two streets. Four will be allowed on Blake Street between 19th and 20th streets. Three will be located on Market between 20th and 21st streets.
There is a large area where trucks are still not allowed to be on at all, including the block at Larimer where Jordan Waddy was shot by Denver police after he pulled out a gun.
Johnson said that she and about nine other food truck owners met with the Denver Police Department to discuss what could be done to get business going again after the original shutdown.
She said they offered multiple solutions, none of which will be implemented in this new plan.
“It just feels like a not well thought through kneejerk. There’s no replacement for that spot and those times, so taking that away and limiting it and what they’re doing is not a solution I can live with, and so I have to do weekday gigs at bars and just trying to find my new niche.”
This temporary rule will be in effect for the next six months, but the city will be working on more permanent regulations for food vendors in LoDo in the meantime.