Gaslamp businesses on sidewalk vendor crackdown

ABC 10 News KGTV
ABC 10 News KGTV

Friday, San Diego police began enforcing a sidewalk vendor crackdown in the Gaslamp Quarter.

This comes after recent violent incidents involving sidewalk vendors.

"I've been waiting for this day for quite a while," said Michael Trimble, Executive Director of the Gaslamp Quarter Association.

In May, the city banned sidewalk vendors from high-traffic areas like the Gaslamp Quarter.

However, Trimble said vendors ignore the rule because of the lack of enforcement.

"It's been unregulated chaos, madness," he said. "Friday, Saturday, Sunday, we could have 150 vendors doing business illegally in the Gaslamp Quarter."

Trimble said the vendors leave trash and block walkways, causing people to walk in the street.

Last month, one vendor stabbed another vendor after an argument near Petco Park.

Code Enforcement had been in charge of regulating the ordinance before the San Diego Police Department took over.

"It is dangerous. You're out there in the middle of the night. People are inebriated, so having a uniform presence hopefully helps and limits the violence," said SDPD Lt. Arturo Swadener.

Police have spent the last two weeks educating vendors operating in the Gaslamp District about the law.

The city also put up more than 400 "NO VENDING ZONE" signs.

Violators could face fines ranging from $200 to up to $1000.

"It's refreshing to know they are actually in line and are hoping to actually do something about it," said Breanna Lochmiller.

Lochmiller is the General Manager at Henry's Pub. She said her team usually spends the mornings cleaning up the trash vendors left behind on the weekends.

"It is a sticky situation. We want these people to thrive, but it seems like there are more cons than there are pros, at least in the Gaslamp District," Lochmiller said.

More than anything, Lochmiller hopes more enforcement makes the area safer for people, including employees.

"Safety is the biggest issue, so if you're going to bring fights and other issues, I don't want it. I want people to come here and have fun," she said.

Police said the penalty for a fourth violation could include impounding the vendor's cart.

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