Thursday, May 28, 2015

Camden trying to regulate vendors and pedicabs in downtown district

While the idea to auction vending spots available in Camden's downtown district and waterfront was squashed (for now) at Tuesday's city council meeting, a similar ordinance made it through first reading.

Camden trying to regulate vendors and pedicabs in downtown district

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While the idea to auction vending spots available in Camden's downtown district and waterfront was squashed (for now) at Tuesday’s city council meeting, a similar ordinance made it through first reading.

An ordinance to regulate the use of pedicabs for hire in the city was presented by Code Enforcement Director Iraida Afanador , who said she had witnessed the use of pedicabs on the waterfront this summer.

“We had nothing to charge them with,” Afanador said Tuesday. The city does not have any regulations concerning the use of pedicabs, also known as rickshaws, a tricycle-type device mostly seen in tourist districts.

According to Afanador, a group of people from Florida have been coming to Camden when there are big weekend events and charging $30 to transport customers from downtown train stations to the Susquehanna Bank Center, a few blocks away.

The proposed ordinance would establish a licensing fee for pedicab operators and would lay out boundaries for where they could accept customers. A cap on the fees customers could be charged also could be imposed, Afanador said.

Afanador said she had heard that a retired pastor in Cramer Hill wants to start a pedicab business in the city, but she did not know his name.

Neither Camden’s Urban Enterprise Zone office nor its Bureau of License and Inspections has received an application from any pedicab business. Maybe Cramer Hill’s mystery man is waiting for the ordinance to pass. Second reading on the ordinance and a public hearing will be held at the next council meeting, on Aug. 14.

The vending-and-peddlers ordinance, which also has been proposed by city Code Enforcement, was tabled after concerns expressed by some council members and audience members about the effect of a potential bidding war on the small, independent vendors.

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About this blog

Allison Steele writes about Camden’s schools, government and businesses. Most importantly, she writes about the city’s residents. She is a former crime reporter who covered the Camden and Philadelphia police departments for the Inquirer. A Philly native, she has been with the Inquirer since 2008.

Send comments, tips and story ideas to asteele@philly.com, call 856-779-3876, or reach out on Twitter @AESteele.

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