||VENDING AT PENN
Food vending is a tradition at Penn, dating back to when the university was a predominantly commuter school. Vending has been an important part of life here ever since, and it will continue to be.
But today, vending activity around the Penn campus has exploded to include more than 90 trucks, carts, and tables selling various foods and other products.
Vendors, responding to the Penn community's appetite for inexpensive, convenient foods, are currently doing an estimated $12 million in annual business according to a recent study.
Over the past few years, the City of Philadelphia has further regulated (or in some cases banned) vending in certain parts of the city: Center City; South Street; Manayunk; Germantown Avenue; Progress Plaza; and portions of the Drexel University and Temple University campuses.
As these other parts of the City have moved to limit and regulate vending, the area surrounding the Penn campus has experienced a dramatic increase in the number of vendors. Over the last several years alone, there has been a 50% increase in the number of vendors selling food and other goods in the area.
Over the same time period, the 40th Street commercial corridor has seen a dramatic rise in retail vacancies. According to the City Planning Commission, these vacancy rates have nearly quadrupled from 5.5% in 1988 to almost 19.2% in 1995.
THE NEED FOR A NEW FRAMEWORK
The unbridled growth of vending, together with the alarming increase in retail vacancies in recent years, have rendered the City's existing framework for regulating vending in University City outdated and ineffective.
Vending should and will remain part of the way of life at Penn but, it must be done in a way that enhances the aesthetics and image of the campus; allows for the healthy co-existence of retail shopping; instills consumer confidence in food safety and hygiene; and minimally impacts traffic safety and parking conditions in the area.