Open Los Angeles’s Streets to Vending

In Los Angeles, the city that brought us the food-truck revolution, traditional sidewalk vending is illegal—turning aspiring entrepreneurs into criminals. All that these vendors want to do is earn an honest living and provide for their families in a way that contributes to their communities.

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Citywide, police have recently cracked down on street vendors, even as city hall is debating legalizing street vending and some local police divisions have halted citations. On March 31, 2015, vendors rallied outside LAPD’s headquarters, asking officials to end their campaign of harassment.

Join the campaign to help the vendors!

Vending puts people to work, creates opportunities for self-sufficiency, and enriches the communities in which vendors operate. If legalized, vendors can also contribute to the city’s coffers by paying sales tax and payroll taxes, and can activate underused spaces, bringing new life to communities and making them safer, more enjoyable places to live.

The Los Angeles Street Vendor Campaign is an initiative to legalize food vending on Los Angeles’s city sidewalks.

“The campaign is driven by a city-wide coalition of organizations who are committed to developing a system that gives micro-entrepreneurs an opportunity to make an honest living, encourages healthy eating, and supports existing small businesses in communities all over Los Angeles.”



Download the Sanitation Report:
Street Eats, Safe Eats: How Food Trucks and Carts Stack Up to Restaurants on Sanitation

In 2014, Street Eats, Safe Eats, an original study by the Institute for Justice, reviewed thousands of food safety inspection reports from food trucks, carts, and restaurants.  The data proved that LA's mobile food businesses provided cleaner options than the city’s brick-and-mortar establishments. 


Los Angeles Food-safety Violations, 2009-July 2012*

  Average (Mean) Violations   Standard Deviation   Minimum   Maximum
Food Trucks 3.59 6.40 0 100
Restaurants 7.82 5.25 0 100
Carts 2.37 5.74 0 36
*Data provided by Los Angeles County Department of Public Health and based on 2,928 inspections of 601 food trucks, 42,089 inspections of 7,542 restaurants and 594 inspections of 236 carts.





Estimated Differences in Food-safety Violations, Los Angeles, 
2009-July 2012 (Statistically Significant Results in Italics)*

Average Restaurant
Violations Compared 
to Food Trucks
Rate of Restaurant 
Violations  Compared 
to Food Trucks
 Average Restaurant 
Violations Compared 
to Food Carts
Rate of Restaurant 
Violations Compared 
to Food Carts
4.48 more 120% more 5.65 more 237% more
*Results listed derived from OLS and Poisson regressions. Full regression results can be found in Appendix B.



Read previous IJ coverage of LA's street vendors.

Read more about the Institute for Justice’s National Street Vending Initiative.

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