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Hollywood Begins New Crackdown on Street Vendors in Tourist Core

The new action on the Walk of Fame began on Monday

Hollywood tourist
Shutterstock/Sean Pavone
Farley Elliott is the Senior Editor at Eater LA and the author of Los Angeles Street Food: A History From Tamaleros to Taco Trucks. He covers restaurants in every form, from breaking news to the culture, people, and history that surrounds LA's dining landscape.

Hollywood’s bustling tourist core, mostly located in and around the Hollywood and Highland complex, has long been a ground zero of sorts for street food vendors, trinket sellers, and performers. But now the colorful sidewalk shows and late night bacon-wrapped hot dogs are in danger of disappearing thanks to a new crackdown from the city of Los Angeles on the unpermitted businesses.

Curbed LA has all the news of the city’s new effort to curb street vending in the heart of Hollywood, starting with the enacting of a so-called “special enforcement zone” that runs from Orange Drive to McCadden Place along Hollywood Boulevard.

Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell’s team as well as the bureau of street services is heavily scrutinizing the area because of the perception that vendors are creating unsafe walkways and hogging sidewalk space. They and the Hollywood Property Owners Alliance are leaning on a public property law under section 56.11 that is routinely used to break down homeless encampments across the city, stating that the city can remove any “bulky items” that would not otherwise fit in a single 60-gallon container with the lid closed. That would certainly preclude the use of traditional food carts selling things like churros, fruit, and juice drinks.

As LA Taco points out, the new enforcement has rankled street food activists and raised questions about whether or not the Walk of Fame will continue to push back against legalization of any kind. Business groups there have previously been resistant to the existence of street vendors and at one point sought exemption from legalization legislation. There is no final framework yet for what street vendor laws will look like across the city of Los Angeles, as that process has been slow-moving and riddled with conflicting voices.

There’s no official word yet on how things will shake out in Hollywood or beyond, but it’s important to note that street food vending is a historical practice in Los Angeles. It predates the city itself, and is an indelible part of dining out in this city for tourists and locals alike. What’s more, today’s legalization efforts come on the heels of increased assaults and robberies against street vendors county-wide, including the much-publicized attack on a popular elote vendor selling not far away in Hollywood.