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Queens Chronicle

Ramos looks to get rid of cap on carts

Mixed opinions over the situation, toll on brick-and-mortar stores

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Posted: Thursday, November 7, 2019 10:30 am

State Sen. Jessica Ramos (D-East Elmhurst) has proposed legislation that would stop New York from capping the number of vendors that can work on sidewalks.

“We need to start seeing street vendors for who they are: small business owners and, often, people of color — immigrants, women, seniors and parents who work in public spaces to provide food and other goods to our communities,” Ramos told the New York Post.

The proposal won’t see the floor until the Legislature’s next session begins in January.

Mayor de Blasio addressed the bill during his Monday appearance on NY1’s “Inside City Hall.”

“I would argue that a lifting of the cap is not the way to go, that we need a much tighter enforcement system,” he said.

De Blasio said there is a “black market” with current vendor permits and that “there’s a lot wrong with the current system.”

But, he added, “opening it up to anybody and everybody is not helpful.”

De Blasio said the sidewalks are clogged in a lot of places and that he is concerned about small businesses that are already battling online shopping.

“I would strongly urge the Legislature to let us figure this out locally and not sort of create chaos here,” he said.

State Sen. Joe Addabbo Jr. (D-Howard Beach) told the Chronicle on Wednesday that he would be interested in the legislation but would like to proceed cautiously.

“If they were to lift the cap I’d still be a little cautious about the proliferation of carts in front of mom-and-pop stores,” he said. “And I really like my mom-and-pop stores and my small businesses but these carts are also, in a sense, a small business.”

Addabbo noted that there are parts of Queens that are food deserts, such as the Rockaways, part of his jurisdiction. He said he believes the food deserts can have carts without hurting small businesses and that the matter is for an agency to look into further.

“Food carts do have their place to help others and provide a service but again we have to be careful,” Addabbo said.

He said that the carts are regulated for health and safety and that placement should be part of that as well.

“There still needs to be some type of regulation,” Addabbo said.

Andrew Rigie, executive director of the nonprofit NYC Hospitality Alliance, told the Post, “Just eliminating the cap and putting thousands more vendors on the streets exacerbates the problems that already exist. You [already] have people selling bagels and coffee for half the price in front of a brick-and-mortar store.”

According to the Post, City Hall licenses about 5,000 vendors. “The problem is that permits are limited,” halal cart vendor Khalid Hassan told the Post. “A lot of people are on the waiting list. I have a lot of friends and family on that waiting list.”

Ramos’ bill would also expunge past violations for unsanctioned vending from criminal records.

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Welcome to the discussion.

2 comments:

  • Helton posted at 11:26 am on Thu, Nov 14, 2019.

    Helton Posts: 2

    This are progressive ideas in action. Let's turn NYC into a filthy, crime ridden, obscenely unlivable city - just like San Francisko.

     
  • Buster57 posted at 9:25 pm on Thu, Nov 7, 2019.

    Buster57 Posts: 79

    Seriously? This is horrible. Our streets are hard enough to walk on. And real diners, restaurants will suffer. Hope this doesn't pass.