Water Street food truck ban, owners voice concerns at City Hall

A Water Street food truck ban is something the small business owners want gone, while Milwaukee leaders said they need to work out the logistics.

The owner of Mr. Taco, one of the food trucks that would typically park on the now-banned stretch of Water Street, said business has not been the same. Just two days before Cinco de Mayo, she and others went to City Hall hoping to have the ban lifted.

"Our family, people, my employees – everyone is getting hurt here," said Vanessa Molina, owner of Mr. Taco. "Our money has dropped, we can’t stay there like we normally work."

SIGN UP TODAY: Get daily headlines, breaking news emails from FOX6 News

On April 18, the Milwaukee Common Council put a temporary food truck ban in place for several blocks of Water Street; it applies to the east and west sides of the street between Knapp and Pleasant.

"We want to get away from bans of streets, we don’t want to do that," said Ald. JoCasta Zamarripa. 

Water Street food truck ban location

The location of the ban is part of Ald. Jonathan Brostoff's district. He said the area has had issues with littering and grease being left behind.

"We been there too long not to obey the rules," Molina said. "We are doing our job, we are there to work, we are not sitting there to make our community bad, we are there to help our community."

Molina said she and other owners felt left in the dark when it came to the city's concerns – so they went to City Hall.

"The problem is they did not talk to them, and they don’t know what’s going on," said Walter Garron, an organizer and spokesperson for the food truck owners.

FREE DOWNLOAD: Get breaking news alerts in the FOX6 News app for iOS or Android.

Brostoff said they just need some time: "We are coming forward with good legislation that will enable good actors to continue to thrive and help correct the behavior of bad actors and be better for the city overall."

The ban is supposed to end at the end May 31, but Molina said it's not soon enough – they have customers to serve.

"The client is the one who wants us there, if not we wouldn’t be there," she said.

Brostoff said, in the next week or so, the new food truck legislation will be introduced. The only thing he could mention was that the city is looking to add food truck zones.