City News

Could moving late night eats curb crime? Some city officials think so

Students searching for food carts on the 600 block of University Avenue at night will have to travel elsewhere, after a new ordinance banning them from the area takes effect next weekend.

Image By: Erik Franze

In efforts to reduce crime in the area, city officials are tweaking late night vending laws near a strip of downtown Madison bars.

Two popular food carts, Little Chicago and JD’s, will be uprooted next weekend from their usual spots on the 600 block of University Avenue, after city council voted unanimously last Tuesday to restrict food carts from the area at night.

The ordinance, co-sponsored by Ald. Mike Verveer, District 4, and Ald. Zach Wood, District 8, is effective between 9 p.m. and 4 a.m. It eliminates two vending zones off of University Avenue—one at the intersections of North Frances Street and the other at West Gilman Street.

The move is designed to discourage loitering and crime at bar close time, Verveer told The Daily Cardinal.

“It was the concentration of these very popular food carts that led to concerns,” he said.

Crime on the 600 block of University Avenue—which sees heavy late night foot traffic on the weekends because of the row of bars it encompasses—has recently spiked, according to city officials. Verveer said late night crowds in the area weren’t just ordering food and going. They’re hanging out, loitering and causing fights, he said.

“I’m not going to say the problem is fixed yet,” Verveer said. “We’ve tried other strategies, and we’re hoping a combination of them will be effective.”

Little Chicago and JD’s can then be found in areas where late night vending is permitted, including off of Lake Street.

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