The New Street Vending Rules of Los Angeles, California

La La Land
7 min readDec 2, 2019


Los Angeles is the second largest city in the United States, and it is home to more than four million people. The city’s population is so diverse, and as a result, a lot of establishments were built to cater different ethnic groups. Local restaurants and grocery stores have different specialties, targeting different ethnicities and cultures. Through the years, the number of people and immigrants living in Los Angeles increased, and as a result, new changes in the city’s laws were being introduced. One of the most recent changes in the city’s laws were the introduction of new street vending rules, allowing street vendors to operate in Los Angeles. The introduction of this new law is expected to bring changes to the cityscape, and entrepreneurs are excited to start a street food business and offer foods from different cultures. Exploring the city can be done much better through walking along its streets, and the addition of street vendors would make it more exciting to walk around Los Angeles and taste every possible food choices that will be created after the law has been introduced.

In the past, street vending was made illegal in the city because of safety concerns. Pedestrians are prone to accidents, and putting up stalls in the streets would make them more vulnerable to accidents. However, times have changed, and the city council of Los Angeles decided to vote for the legalization of street vending. Seeing how the practice progressed in other cities around the world, the city council decided to legalize it and create new opportunities for the public. Jerry Brown, the former governor of the state of California, affixed his signature to the Safe Sidewalk Vending Act, allowing the state’s cities and counties to create their own laws that would regulate the street vendors. The signing of the act was met with positive responses, and people from the state are saying that it would give them more opportunity to earn money, and some are excited to build their own stalls to introduce the local food found in their home countries. After the Safe Sidewalk Vending Act was signed, the Bureau of Street Services and Parks and Recreation was tasked to submit formal rules and regulations regarding how the street vendors within the city should operate. The city council of Los Angeles has also formulated its own rules and regulations.

Starting on January 1, 2019, and continuing for the next 12 months, permits will be given to those who wanted to open their business along the streets of Los Angeles. This is the first step towards the regulation of all street vendors in the city. If someone wanted to open a street vending business, they should keep a permit on their end. The permit can be applied through different channels, and once their permits are accepted, the vendors can start operating in the place specified on their permits. Vendors who wanted to reserve for a specific location within the city should apply for a permit. Those who do not have any permits could end up being arrested, or have their stores or stalls closed. People who wanted to establish a street vending business in the city of Los Angeles have already visited the city hall to process their permits, and the city council was overwhelmed with the huge number of people wanted to sell their own products in the streets of the city. They are still encouraging those who wanted to start a street vending business to apply for a permit, because the locations across the city are quickly being reserved.

As a form of assistance from the city government, the city council of Los Angeles decided to invest in hiring professionals who would guide street vendors in processing their permit requests. The ordinance will allow the permits to last for a year, while the city council is still working on additional details on how the permit should work out. There will be changes in how the permits are being applied as well as its expiration date, but for the meantime, a whole year would work out just fine. Service providers are also being hired by the city council to educate the street vendors about the business sector. They will be briefed about the rules and regulations regarding how street vending works in Los Angeles, and some violations will also be shared to prevent them from committing any of it. This will allow the street vendors in the city to become more responsible towards their business as well as the safety and health of their customers.

Regarding the places where street vendors could operate, the city council of Los Angeles prohibited any street vending activities near large event venues all over the city. This includes the Staples Center and the Los Angeles Coliseum, among others. Street vendors were wondering why the city council would prevent them from operating near large event venues, and they have stated that some of the street vendors were forced out of these event venues back in November 2018. The city council of Los Angeles clarified that one of the reason why street vendors are not allowed near large event venues is because of rules surrounding established businesses that are operating inside these venues. It would not be fair if the city council will allow street vendors near these large event venues, and the businesses operating inside these venues could sue the city council and they could also pay hefty fines if they allowed street vendors to operate in these areas. However, areas near parks and the downtown are open for reservation, and there is a huge number of people who are working in these areas, making a street vending business a profitable business.

Regarding the street vending activities near parks, the city council decided that there should only be two street vendors operating per acre. To visualize this rule, think about a park with a 100 acre area — in that location, only 200 vendors will be allowed to operate. The city council stated that the number of vendors inside the parks should also be regulated to preserve the beauty of the city’s parks. Additionally, park rangers will be deployed to look after the vendors who are selling their products within these areas. They will reinforce rules and regulations, and check if the vendors are following the orders approved by the city council. Street vendors who have heard about the changes with regards to their operations inside the parks have stated that the new rules will give them a chance to earn more, knowing that parks around Los Angeles are frequented by a huge number of people. Those who are visiting Los Angeles from faraway places are also saying that this changes in the rules would make parks more attractive, and people from all over the world will start visiting Los Angeles because of their friendly atmosphere towards the street vendors.

The rules and regulations, as well as the requirements, will also be determined by a different government department — the Department of Public Works. It is important for them to introduce their own rules and regulations for the protection of the vendors and the pedestrians who will be buying from them. Los Angeles is known for its many incidences of traffic accidents, and requiring someone to oversee their safety is a must for the city council and other government officials. Another advantage of the new rules surrounding the street vendors in Los Angeles would be the removal of the cap as to how many vendors can operate within the city. Los Angeles welcomed everyone who wanted to start a business in the city, and encouraged small time business people to start opening their business within Los Angeles.

The City Council reminded those who wanted to open their business in the city to get the permit on opening their street vending venture. In addition to their permit to operate, they are also required to get their business license, their tax permits, and their health permits. Those who will not comply will be fined, and their business could be closed down. After the city council has announced the new laws surrounding city vending, many people have already shared their interest in opening up a business in the city. The city council also said that this will further boost the tourism sector in Los Angeles, and people from all over the world will love to visit a city that offers them a lot of selections towards the food.

Los Angeles has been emulating the success of street vending in other cities around the world, especially in Asia. Many cities in Asia allow their locals to sell food along the streets, and it has become one of their highlights to introduce their cultures to the visitors. One example are the street foods of Bangkok Thailand. It has become a must for every tourists who are visiting the Thai capital to try out their street food which are made of different food from the country. It includes fruits, vegetables, cakes, and other things that are seem to be peculiar for the Western taste buds. Insects are also served in the busy streets of Bangkok, and foreigners are trying these foods as a sort of experience.

In nearby Manila, Philippines, street vending has also become a part of the culture. People are given different choices of street foods, and foreigners love the atmosphere in Manila every time they go out to find the best food along the streets. There are fried food, savory food, and desserts offered to those who would love to taste the culture of the Filipinos. Every region in the Philippines also offer a different type of street food that would suit the taste buds of those who are visiting. The Philippines is made up of more than 7,000 islands, and each ethnic group living in these islands are giving their star recipe to those who will brave the seas and visit them.

Los Angeles stated that their new law surrounding street vending will also give a boost to their local economy. Street vendors lauded the city council for their decision to legalize street vending, and it will empower them to do business. For the street vendors, selling items and food on the streets of Los Angeles is not a crime, and they are considered as micro entrepreneurs. They are thanking the city council for thinking about their welfare, and allowing them to operate in the busy streets of the city. Los Angeles is preparing the people to embrace the new rule that would offer new food choices for everyone.



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