Nashville, TN: Food Vendor Parking Cooking Up Controversy Downtown

By Chris Cannon  |  News Channel 5 | Nashville News, Weather

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Last year, the Metro Public Works started a pilot program that designated zones for mobile food vendor parking. One of those zones has drivers upset their parking spaces are gone.

Reedy Reynolds came to the Birch Building on 2nd Avenue North Thursday and had a hard time finding street parking.

He had to get out of his car to see a sign posted on all the parking meters close to the courthouse.

“I wanted to see what the time limits were, to see if I could get in here, but it’s 10 to 2, so I can’t park,” Reedy said.

Many people have complained about the mobile food vendor parking on that street, because they have never seen a food truck park there.

“Not one. What does that say,” Reedy asked.

The designated zones are part of a pilot program to help find places for food trucks to park.

“We tried to find locations that worked for everybody,” said Jenna Smith from Metro Public Works.

This is a pilot program that the department is constantly evaluating.

“Because we understand, this is not what we want, that there’s an empty spot and no one’s there because the food trucks aren’t there and somebody wants to park there,” Smith said.

The people who drive Nashville’s food trucks also understand the concerns people have raised about parking.

“Right away, when food trucks hit the scene, people were concerned about the potential issues, so we wanted to address them straight away,” according to Nashville Food Truck Association President B.J. Lofback.

The truck owners have worked closely with Metro Public Works to try and find the best approach to parking in downtown Nashville.

“And we understand people are looking for parking spots, and so are we, and how do we find that balance, well, we’re working on that right now,” Lofback said.

There are eight different sites located on downtown streets.

Changes are already planned for the zone in question on 2nd Avenue North. Public Works will reduce the number of spaces at that location next week.

“Basically reducing the size of the zone. So right now about three trucks can fit, probably one, to two trucks, depending on the size of the trucks, will be able to fit there,” Smith said.

The department is also looking into a reservation system. A vendor would call in the morning, reserve a spot and then the city would go and bag that spot. That way, only the spots actually needed would be off-limits to drivers.

There is an on-line survey you can take that will allow you to evaluate Nashville’s food truck program. Click here for the survey.