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Community Board Wants to Keep Tabs on Food Trucks

By Leslie Albrecht | October 13, 2011 7:06am
The line at Frites 'N' Meats Aug. 8, 2011, when the food truck gave away free fries.
The line at Frites 'N' Meats Aug. 8, 2011, when the food truck gave away free fries.
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DNAinfo/Julie Shapiro

UPPER WEST SIDE — Noisy, smelly food trucks, watch out. Community Board 7 plans to keep an eye on you.

Board members said food trucks who've been kicked out of Midtown and the Upper East Side are flooding the Upper West Side, prompting complaints from overwhelmed locals.

"They're exploding all over," said Community Board 7 transportation committee chairman Andrew Albert. "I'm getting calls and emails every day from people saying there's a new truck here, there's a new truck there."

There are roughly 3,000 mobile food vendors citywide, but no one knows how many operate on the Upper West Side, which blocks they're on, and whether they're following the law, Albert said.

Community Board 7 plans to conduct a survey in the next month or two to count the trucks, pinpoint their locations, and find out other information, such as whether any mobile vendors are competing directly with restaurants.

Board members will also check to see if the vendors are belching smoke or creating noise — a frequent complaint among locals.

"If they’re emitting noise or smoke, we want to know that because that would be a violation," Albert said. "It's not that we're trying to hurt these small operators, but they're everywhere and there has to be some logic as to where they are."

Gathering data about the trucks could help officials write new legislation to control mobile food vendors, perhaps by capping the number allowed on a specific block, Albert said.

"Maybe the existing laws aren't sufficient anymore," Albert said.