I-Team: Food truck violation follow up

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Food trucks are being forced to follow the law after an I-Team investigation, but the industry says it needs more room to park. (WLS)

An ABC7 I-Team Investigation
Food trucks are being forced to follow the law after an I-Team investigation, but the industry says it needs more room to park.

An update to our "Food Fight" investigation and a major crackdown on food trucks, ordered by the mayor.

All of it happening after an I-Team and Chicago Sun-Times investigation.

Cleaning up after the food fight.

Citations are being issued, and food trucks appear to be complying. They are no longer parking in tow zones or bus stops.

But now the food truck industry is asking for more space to park.

You can see food trucks now avoiding those tow zones and staying out of bus stops and not cramming within inches of the crosswalk.

A far cry from these overstuffed food stands in the Loop where the I-Team and the Sun-Times uncovered chronic violations in August.

"Since the ABC 7 piece we have gone incognito in a way, we have gone to the slower spots," said Louis Dourlain, of the Cajun food truck, Boo Coo Roux.

Food truck operators who didn't break the law are reacting to the new compliance crackdown.

"Young entrepreneurs, like myself, sometimes were cocky, sometimes we think we're right and we are wrong and sometimes we bend the rules and the city now says, you know what, we let you slide, we let you slide, times up, you learned the lesson," said Frankie Abate of Da Pizza Dude.

And investigators from the city's Business Affairs and Consumer Protection Department are handing out citations.

"I know the city is going around giving big, big tickets," said Dourlain.

In August, our investigation uncovered that the BACP had only issued five parking citations since 2013 and the Chicago Department of Transportation hadn't issued any since the 2012 ordinance went into effect.

After our story, Mayor Rahm Emanuel made this announcement: "The department must enforce the rules otherwise there is a breakdown in the system."

Since then the BACP has issued:
- 3 Cease and Desist Orders
- 34 Tickets
- 12 Notices to Correct
- 1 Removal Order

Nida Rodriguez from the Illinois Food Truck Association says trucks in her group have received at least 20 tickets.

"Would you agree it's is an issue if they were parking near a tow zone, cross walk or in a bus stop. They shouldn't be there right?" the I-Team asked.

"Well 75 percent of the tickets issued were not for safety issues, they were related to the time," said Rodriguez.

She's referring to the two-hour parking limit imposed of food trucks.

"We don't have the time in two hours to prep our food, get our food to the proper temperatures, serve our customers, shut down properly," said Rodriguez.

Rodriguez says more food stands are needed. While there are 37 in the city - she says there are 10 downtown - and some of those are out of service because of construction.

"I think that this has brought the issue to the forefront. Which is great. It's opened up dialogue for us to start talking to the mayor," said Rodriguez.

There's currently an industry lawsuit against the city demanding different rules.

The Sun-Times version of this investigation is online now and will be in the Sunday paper.

The Sun-Times story will also be revealing some high powered groups funding the battle for more food truck space.

Additional information:
Map of food truck stands in the City of Chicago
Food Truck owners vs. City of Chicago lawsuit
Recently introduced Food Truck ordinance by Alderman Reilly

Related Topics:
I-Teamfood truck
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