Such trucks had been known to serve breakfast to day laborers at dawn in some parts of the county, or Jamaican fare to Bethesda bar patrons in the middle of the night. So 10:00 PM is still hours short of when trucks were operating in the county just a few years ago.
One interesting moment in yesterday's discussion was Councilmember Hans Riemer's acknowledgement that the County has actually driven food trucks out. Usually, the Council PR suggests that they are going to bring us this new thing called "food trucks", which we don't have now because we taxpayers are stodgy and not as forward-thinking as our hip and enlightened councilmembers. And they're going to give 'em to us.
In referring to perceived problems caused by food trucks, Riemer said, “You don’t see a lot of problems with food trucks in the county right now, because we really don’t have many, because the way that the rules have been enforced has driven them out.”
So true. But those supposed rules weren't being enforced prior to Mr. Riemer's election to the council. What Riemer didn't acknowledge was that his own political operative, Dan Hoffman, was part of the County effort that was marketed to the public as "improving food truck locations". In reality, by the end of that effort, food trucks had vanished from the streets of downtown Bethesda. Workers seeking their favorite food trucks in lunchtime hot spots like the Veterans Park area of the Woodmont Triangle, or Bethesda Avenue at Woodmont Avenue, or 7700 Wisconsin Avenue, were coming up empty.
In fact, whereas my @BethesdaRow Twitter account was usually being tagged by dozens of food truck operators eager for me to share their locations that day, I instead began to get panicked messages from truck owners saying they were in the process of being booted from the spot where they had parked. 96% of food trucks either went out of business, or fled back to friendlier places like the District.
For a County political machine that rips off almost every one of its initiatives from places like Berkeley, CA and New York City and Portland, OR, it's remarkable that it doesn't subscribe to the overwhelming consensus among new urbanists that food trucks help make urban areas vibrant.
Of course, this same political cartel supports Barwood Cab over more recent transportation innovations, so it maybe isn't that surprising. But I digress.
When Council President George Leventhal says food trucks are one way to "make Montgomery County friendlier for young people, more interesting and dynamic," I couldn't agree more.
So why did they drive out those very food trucks, which can be found steps over the County line in DC on Wisconsin Avenue every day at lunch?
No trucks are coming back to the public streets of MoCo just because they have longer hours to operate - they can't park in profitable hotspots, so what's the point?