Montgomery County, MD: High School Students Help To Find ‘Food Truck-Friendly’ Locations

By Aaron Kraut  |  Bethesda Now


Montgomery County wants to avoid the controversies between food trucks and brick-and-mortar restaurants that have popped up across the country, and it’s enlisting a group of high school students to help.

In May, Montgomery’s Chief Innovation Officer Dan Hoffman explained the idea for a program that would pinpoint locations where food trucks could be successful without interfering with the business of traditional restaurants.

Under the guidance of a group of “innovation fellows,” students at Wheaton High School have started to look for ideal locations for food trucks.

Kayvan Vakili, an innovation fellow and intern at the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Regional Center, wrote yesterdaythat the group has scouted sites for a week and has come up of a list of about 20 workable locations in the areas of Bethesda, Silver Spring and Wheaton:

As a result of our research, we have noticed some trends in concerns among the public and governing bodies of various cities. Some of the major obstacles include interactions with established brick and mortar restaurants, public rights of way and pedestrian safety. In our role, we have taken these concerns seriously and incorporated these factors into choosing the best possible food truck sites. The guidelines we have created for spotting these sites include the following factors: distance to restaurants, proximity to foot traffic, vision of signage and access to unobstructed sidewalk or open space.

The objective of this initial stage is to meet these challenges by striking the right balance between food truck and restaurant owners. We want to attract a wider range of food options that would be successful on their own and not compete with already established food venues.

Expect places where a group of three or four food trucks can converge on a weekly or monthly basis in large office parks or even large apartment communities, Hoffman said in May.

Meanwhile, a Montgomery County food truck favorite is planning on settling down (at least for a while) at the shuttered BP gas station on Old Georgetown Road. The site is awaiting redevelopment into a luxury condo building.

Corned Beef King was reportedly planning to start at the site this week, but permitting issues apparently have knocked that date back to next week.