Rule changes for NYC street vendors expected

People stand in line to buy lunch from

People stand in line to buy lunch from a street food vendor cart in Manhattan. (March 8, 2010) (Credit: Getty Images)

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Pedestrians may soon bump into fewer hot dog stands while navigating the city sidewalks.

City Council Speaker Christine Quinn announced Thursday the full council will pass a set of legislation next week to change the rules for street vendors.

Among the five bills slated to be approved is one that prohibits vendors from setting up within 20 feet of residential building entrances and exits.

"Our bills will end punitive fines and keep our streets safe -- making it a win for the city, and a win for New Yorkers," Quinn said in a statement.

Another bill, introduced by Councilwoman Gale Brewer, would forbid vendors from occupying taxi zones. Brewer said the law now bans all vendors except for food sellers, a loophole that has caused traffic problems in Manhattan.

"I am supportive of vendors, which are an important part of our city landscape, but we also need common-sense regulations to govern their operation," she said in a statement.

Dan Biederman, the head of the 34th Street Partnership, which urged city leaders to curb the vendor congestion in midtown, didn't return calls for comment.

During his anti-congestion campaign last year, Biederman said food carts were the "the ugliest collection of miserable-looking vehicles," and called their operators "terrible citizens" for littering.

Another bill aims to crack down on vendors who don't follow the law while not creating a huge financial strain. The maximum fine for first-time violators will decrease from $1,000 to $500 under the legislation and increase for repeat offenders.

Even though a veto from Mayor Michael Bloomberg would be moot because it would be overridden, at a news conference Thursday he called the plans to lower fines one of the "stupidest things" he ever heard.

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