For three days starting Thursday, the campus will be host to some 18,000 athletes and as many as 90,000 spectators at the 105th running of the Penn Relay Carnival, the world's oldest and largest. To fit in some 350 contests, the races are run steadily from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Thursday and Friday, and from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. For more on the Relays, see the live-coverage website that got over 400,000 hits last year: www.thePENNrelays.com
This is the first Penn Relays to be held since the relocation of food vendors under a new city ordinance that took effect last fall. Some 38 trucks and carts now lease space in off-street plazas built by the University-five of them just outside Franklin Field where their agreements allow the University to reclaim the space on some occasions-including Penn Relays. "We have no quarrel with that," said Former Vendor Association Vice President Oiy Glaewketgarn, who owns one of the trucks. "But we were told they were only going to move us across 33rd Street, from the Chemistry Building and up near Smith Walk.
"At the last minute we are told we have to go north of Walnut, in back of Hill House on 33rd," he said. "This is a disaster. Our regulars come from the hospitals and Penn Tower area; they have very short lunch hours and we are being moved out of their range. For weeks we've been telling everyone where we will be and now we won't be there." He also cited costs of generators and supplies, and said if they had known the location would be so remote, some might have preferred to close for the Relays rather than incur these costs.
The trucks affected, in addition to Mr. Glaewketgarn's Thai Foods, are Ralph's Lunch, King's Wok, Scott's Vegetarian, and Sophie's.
At presstime Almanac was advised by Jack Shannon of the Office of the EVP that after the original plan was communicated to owners, the Philadelphia Police rejected it for public safety reasons. "The Police Department is of the opinion that 33rd Street between Spruce and Walnut Streets must be kept clear of parked vehicles for both the traffic management of emergency vehicles and the rapid unloading of buses carrying student athletes participating in the Penn Relays. Accordingly, the Police Department has adopted the stance that no motor vehicles of any kind will be permitted to park along this stretch of 33rd Street for any length of time during the Relays."
Almanac, Vol. 45, No. 29, April 20, 1999