The city sent out a press release on Thursday saying that it was embarking on a two-year pilot project to allow mobile food vendors to operate in the downtown between 9 a.m. and 2 a.m. starting at the end of April.
Until now, the release noted, only sidewalk food vendors had been allowed. I’m not sure what the difference is. In the summer, you have sidewalk patios at a few restaurants and cafes. You also have those hot dogs carts that meet my definition of mobile in that they are towed on and off the street each day. In Wascana Centre by the Legislature there’s a trailer that sets up shop each summer that offers ice cream and other treats. It’s mobile too, although I don’t think it would be overly practical to have trailers parked all over downtown Regina.
To operate, the vendors will have to obtain a license from city hall. The release also says they may be allowed on City Square plaza in the future — which makes it sound like they won’t be allowed at present. Which seems weird, as during special events like the Regina Folk Festival food vendors will be on the plaza. And the plaza is in desperate need of places offering food and beverage services to help enliven it.
On another note with respect to the plaza, Thursday evening the consultants hired by the city to study downtown transportation were supposed to unveil their preliminary proposals for traffic changes on 11th and 12th Ave. to help alleviate congestion. We had a Best of Food planning session scheduled for that evening so I wasn’t able to make it over to city hall to find out what the recommendations were. I couldn’t find any mention of the meeting in the on-line version of Saturday’s Leader-Post, and a Google search didn’t yield any new information either. Although I did discover an April 4 presentation made to the city’s Advisory Committee on Access that discusses the challenges visually impaired people are currently having navigating the plaza and the additional challenges they would face if traffic was allowed on the plaza. It makes for an interesting read.