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March 3, 2005

Food-Truck Vendors may Move to Thackeray

The six food vending trucks displaced by construction in Schenley Plaza may have found a new, temporary home. Pittsburgh City Council passed legislation Feb. 23, amended March 1, to dedicate space along Thackeray Street for the vending trucks, which offer international fast foods.

The measure cannot go into effect without the approval of Mayor Tom Murphy. According to his spokesman Craig Kwiecinski, Murphy had not made a decision on the measure by the time the University Times went to press. “We’re going to review the final legislation from council and see how it relates to other vending issues,” Kwiecinski said.

City Councilman William Peduto, along with city, community, hospital and University officials scouted for possible sites for the vendors last week, Peduto said.

In the initial resolution, council voted to license vending spaces for a four-month trial period along DeSoto Street, but that idea was nixed, Peduto said. Among the concerns for that location is the high volume of ambulance traffic, he said.

“We found that the site with the best proximity, providing the best pedestrian safety and best public safety was Thackeray Street,” Peduto said. The city’s Public Works department will determine the exact location for the street vendors on Thackeray if the mayor approves the legislation, he said. A trial period will run until June 30, pending the mayor’s signature.

The food truck vendors, fixtures in Oakland for years, were forced by the city to vacate their Schenley Plaza parking lot location Feb. 28 to make way for the construction of a new park.

Some faculty, staff and students protested the eviction of the vendors. Senate Council passed a resolution Feb. 7 urging the University to work with city departments to find alternative spots for the food trucks.

-Mary Ann Thomas & Peter Hart

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