LOS ANGELES — The Hollywood Walk of Fame has long been a place where street vendors sell food, T-shirts and novelty items, but the city of Los Angeles is beginning in earnest to enforce a program to push most of them off the busiest part of the boulevard by enforcing a section of the city’s code that prohibits the storage of bulky items in the public right of way.
The code, known as 56.11, has traditionally been used to prevent homeless encampments on sidewalks but will now be used to confiscate the items of street vendors on the Walk of Fame who set up tables or large carts to sell their goods. The vendor-clearance program began July 21.
Tony Arranaga, a spokesman for City Councilman Mitch O’Farrell, said the city was not specifically targeting street vendors, just anyone violating the bulky item code because the boulevard has become a hazard for pedestrians and disabled people.
“It’s not directed at street vendors. I want to make that clear. It’s for bulky items that are impeding [Americans With Disabilities Act] accessibility,” Arranaga said.
Arranaga said the program to enforce the code began with city workers putting up signs and issuing warnings, but actual enforcement began July 23.
According to 56.11, a bulky item is anything that cannot fit into a 60-gallon barrel, and the items can be confiscated by the city, with the owners having 90 days to reclaim them. Arranaga said the code would not apply to a vendor carrying their items, but that most of the vendors operating on the boulevard are likely in violation of 56.11.
“If you’ve been out to the boulevard, I’ve never really seen people carrying stuff and walking around. I’ve only seen people hunkered down on the spot on the sidewalk, spread out everywhere,” Arranaga said.
Sidewalk vending is currently illegal in Los Angeles, although the City Council is working on a comprehensive sidewalk vending program that would fully regulate the new industry.
Los Angeles is the only major city in America that outlaws all sidewalk vending, although it decriminalized the practice last year in favor of issuing citations while the council develops a permitting process. Arranaga said he was unaware of any major effort by the city to enforce the sidewalk vending law on the Walk of Fame before the coming 56.11 enforcement.
Arranaga also said the focus of the effort is in a relatively small area, along Hollywood Boulevard from Orange Drive to McCadden Place, a four-block stretch which includes the TCL Chinese Theater, the Hollywood and Highland complex and El Capitan Theatre.
The full Walk of Fame stretches from La Brea Avenue to Gower Street, or about 18 blocks.
The Los Angeles Street Vendor Campaign, which advocates for the decriminalization of street vending and a legal regulation of the industry, spoke out against the city’s new enforcement action on Hollywood Boulevard.
“Hollywood is an important cultural destination, and we believe that street vendors can [and do] contribute to making this part of our city vibrant. Street vendors are not bulky items,” the group said in a statement. “We look forward to working with the City Council and the departments to make sure street vendors are included, not excluded, in plans to make our public spaces safe and available to all Angelenos.”