March 1, 2024 Breaking News, Latest News, and Videos

Santa Monica Embraces Safe Sidewalk Vending

By Santa Monica Mayor Sue Himmelrich

Sidewalk vending has been in the spotlight recently and, with livelihoods at the forefront, it’s understandable why. For more than 30 years, Santa Monica has supported vending and has had vending programs in place to create viable pathways for small business owners to thrive through food trucks, licensed carts on the Pier and Third Street Promenade, and stalls at our famous farmers markets.

In 2019, the State of California decriminalized sidewalk vending through SB 946 and we quickly went to work building a program that incentivized sidewalk vending through a low-cost program that eliminated some of the common barriers to permitting, including an insurance waiver. We engaged with vending advocates and sidewalk vendors, soliciting their feedback to help shape the program and develop bilingual outreach aimed at supporting sidewalk vendors through our permitting process.

It has been nearly three years since we launched that program and we have more than 100 permitted sidewalk vendors operating in our city–a number on par with the much larger City of Los Angeles. Since the program’s inception, our code enforcement officers have shared thousands of bilingual fliers, always leading with education and outreach, contributing to an accessible and inclusive program that has been acknowledged as such by both advocates and permitted sidewalk vendors.

Santa Monica continues to expand economic opportunity for all. We are a community that has prioritized equitable economic recovery from the pandemic. We invest in programs that ensure that historically marginalized communities have real pathways to entrepreneurship. In addition to our licensed cart vending, sidewalk vending, and food truck programs, we are building out a community kitchen at Virginia Avenue Park in 2022, a shared commercial kitchen space designed to help residents break into the costly food industry.

Yet, we cannot overlook the real risks playing out in our community every day, particularly when it comes to the safety of the public. This is the fundamental challenge we face at the Santa Monica Pier. Our historic Pier is a wooden structure that is flammable. On any given day, unpermitted vendors flock to the bustling location, creating an unsafe environment for themselves and the public by cooking with open flames and unpermitted combustible fuels. The Pier also has limited emergency access and capacity limits, particularly on warm days when the beach is full. For these reasons, it is not legal to vend on or within 100 feet of the Pier. Despite this, many vendors have been unwilling to work with us on moving to ample and safe alternative locations.

Though our staff continues to lead with educating vendors about our permit program and seeking voluntary compliance with our local health and safety laws, when necessary, enforcement remains an important tool given the real dangers to public safety and health. Our enforcement efforts are an effective collaboration between our Fire Department, Code Enforcement, Police Department and the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, the lead agency on proper food handling and permitting. Advisals far exceed enforcement actions.

Beyond safety, there are other challenges that add complexity and create confusion for sidewalk vendors and the public. The State Retail Food Code has cumbersome requirements that present barriers to entry, particularly for food vendors. We strongly support modernizing these rules and identifying opportunities to streamline access to safe, permitted food vending, and look forward to partnering with vendor advocates in this effort over the coming months.

We welcome the interest in Santa Monica’s approach to sidewalk vending and are eager to channel the energy and activism toward our shared goal of getting more vendors into our program in support of their success as small business owners. By working with vendors to become permitted, encouraging safe locations off the Pier, and advocating for changes to State law that will make permitting easier, we are confident we are moving in the right direction toward a shared goal of accessible and inclusive entrepreneurship in our public spaces.

in News
Related Posts

Leap Day Brings Once-in-Four-Year Deals at Popular Restaurants All Day Long

February 28, 2024

February 28, 2024

Krispy Kreme, Dunkin’, and More Roll Out Special Offers to Mark the Occasion Leap Day, that rare additional day occurring...

Sweet Lady Jane’s Social Media Tease Continues As Locations Sport Hiring Notices

February 28, 2024

February 28, 2024

Mysterious Posts Leave Fans Eager for the Return, But Questions Linger By Dolores Quintana After resurfacing on social media, the...

Upcoming Ice Cream Shop on Montana Ave. Will Serve Multitude of Vegan Flavors

February 28, 2024

February 28, 2024

The Company Has Come a Long Way Since Its Humble Beginnings as a New York City Food Truck By Zach...

(Video) Pro-Palestine Protest at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel

February 28, 2024

February 28, 2024

Protesters were there to protest the arrival of U.S. Representative Nancy Pelosi Counter-protesters drove by in a car. @smmirrornews Pro-Palestine...

(Video) Restaurants Replace Glass Front Doors After Late Night Robbery Spree in Del Ray

February 28, 2024

February 28, 2024

Seven restaurants and small businesses in Del Rey and Venice, including Nick the Greek and Dudley Market, were robbed. Council...

SMMUSD Appoints New Asst. Superintendent of Education Services

February 27, 2024

February 27, 2024

Dr. Williamson Will Assume Her Role on March 8, Bringing 17 Years of Education Experience In a special board meeting...

Hollywood Royalty to Shine at 96th Oscars: First Wave of Star-Studded Presenter Lineup Unveiled

February 27, 2024

February 27, 2024

Incredible Lineup of Actors and Previous Oscar Winners Announced Executive producer and showrunner Raj Kapoor, along with executive producers Molly...

Vote Smart, Vote Early: Streamlining Your 2024 Presidential Primary Experience in L.A. County

February 27, 2024

February 27, 2024

Skip the Lines and Save Time – Your Guide to Early Voting Options  In preparation for the upcoming 2024 Presidential...

Iconic Venice Beach Sculpture and Landmark to be Removed, Returned to Artist’s Property

February 27, 2024

February 27, 2024

Since the Money, Effort or Desire to Purchase the Piece Appears to Not Be There, the Artist Wants It Back...

(Video) Heartfelt candlelight vigils in Westchester and West Hollywood for Nex Benedict

February 27, 2024

February 27, 2024

The non-binary 16 year old student with Choctaw ancestry died in Owasso, Oklahoma after being beaten by three older high...

Sweet Lady Jane Sparks Hope of Return – Popular Bakery Hints at Reopening Across LA

February 27, 2024

February 27, 2024

After Abrupt Closures, Beloved Bakery Hints at a Comeback, Leaving Fans Intrigued  Sweet Lady Jane, a Los Angeles cake bakery...

Waymo’s LA Expansion Hits Roadblock: CPUC Temporarily Halts Self-Driving Company’s Plans

February 26, 2024

February 26, 2024

California Public Utilities Commission suspends Waymo’s service expansion for 120 days. California’s Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) has put a temporary...

Real Estate Giant Funds LAPD Union Fund to Sway L.A. City Council Election in March

February 26, 2024

February 26, 2024

Santa Monica Company Responsible for LA’s Largest Mass Eviction Gives $400,000 Santa Monica-based Real estate investment trust company Douglas Emmett...

Santa Monica College Unveils 2024 Spring Jazz Series Lineup

February 26, 2024

February 26, 2024

Tickets for each concert are priced at $10 and can be purchased in advance The Santa Monica College Music Department...

Downtown Wellness Center Bridges Gap Between Psychedelics and Meditation

February 26, 2024

February 26, 2024

The Center Has Partnered With Local Agencies and Gave Free Sessions to Around 500 Veterans in Two Years By Zach...