Jeanine Anderson

Imagine a fleet of taco trucks and barbecue Airstreams parked along Broadway, and sidewalk vendors on every commercial block hawking everything from cones of fries to freshly grilled salmon sandwiches. Seattle's Portland envy is drawing to a close: This month, the Seattle City Council will consider adopting new legislation to vastly improve Seattle's street food scene.

The new legislation would allow up to two sidewalk cart vendors per city block face and empower the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) to create curbside food zones where food trucks could park and sell for four hours at a time. "Currently, it's not legal for a food truck to vend from any roadway in the city—only on private property," explains Gary Johnson, spokesman for the Department of Planning and Development, which drafted the new regulations.

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Under the proposed rules, cart vendors—who are currently limited to selling coffee, hot dogs, and popcorn—could begin selling any food item short of raw meat. "The onus would be on the vendor to convince the health department that whatever they intend to sell could be done safely from a cart—which means you could sell almost anything," Johnson says.

If approved by the city council, SDOT would award permits through a lottery drawing for popular areas—such as Belltown or the Pike/Pine corridor. "The changes are incredibly exciting," says Council Member Sally Clark, who will be reviewing the legislation as chair of the council's Committee on the Built Environment. "I don't want to jinx things, but I think we'll have this passed by summer." recommended