The Vancouver, BC, City Council just gave the nod to expand the city’s street food program by allowing a dozen new carts to set up shop this year—bringing the grand total to 103 carts operating in the city.
And the people rejoiced: Yay.
But those 12 carts were selected from 59 applicants. Despite all-around success for the last two years, the city is still capping the number of food carts well below the potential number of vendors. Over the new two years, only 30 more carts will be ushered in.
I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again: it’s time to cut the cap and let food carts do their thing.
City leaders claim they’re limiting new carts because they’re worried that they’ll start cannibalizing other carts’ business. But seriously, let the market figure that out. My guess is the city can handle more than 100 (after all, Portland—a similarly-sized city—can handle 700), and right now the city is basically playing favorites by handpicking carts.
Chastising aside, the city also agreed to launch a cool pilot program that would allow carts into public parks. Three sites were chosen, including one at Stanley Park that goes for a jaw-dropping $15,000 (regular street carts only pay $1,000 per year). I’ll be excited to see how these new spaces play out.