Hot Dogs Here! 3 More Pittsburgh Vendor Sites Approved

Mar 7, 2013

A Strip District vendor sells Pittsburgh Steelers t-shirts on the roadside.
Credit Jeffrey Inscho / Flickr

Pittsburghers will have three more chances to buy hot dogs, T-Shirts and other paraphernalia after City Council gives final approval to three new vendor sites on Tuesday.

Council gave preliminary approval to the necessary legislation on Wednesday, and if approved next week, the three new vending sites will be advertised in local newspapers.

One site will be at the intersection of First Avenue and Municipal Courts Drive; the second place will be the corner of Second Avenue and Grant Street; and the third peddler will be allowed to set up shop on Smithfield Street, near Fourth Avenue.

City Operations Manager Ben Carlise said Pittsburgh has about fifty vending sites across the city as it is, most of them in Downtown and Oakland. He said roughly ten of those are vacant, not counting the three newly proposed sites.

It's a long process to get a vending site approved. First, the location must be proposed to the city's Vending Sites Committee. If that group okays the idea, then City Council must approve it as well. After those two votes are taken, the sites are advertised in newspapers, and a lottery is held among the applicants to determine who gets to hawk their wares at each spot.

Although other American cities might have more vendors, Carlise said that doesn't mean Pittsburgh's regulations are too controlled.

"I remember, years and years ago, I looked at the New York procedure, and it actually looked more convoluted than this," said Carlise. "I think it's harder to get a vending license in New York than Pittsburgh."

He said the rules are designed to allow as many peddlers as possible without taking too much business away from brick-and-mortar shops.

"Brick-and-mortar stores, they're paying taxes and they have to make a living, so we take that into account. That's why we have the 500-foot rule, so we don't hurt the brick-and-mortar stores. We can't put a hot dog vendor within 500 feet of a hot dog shop," said Carlise.

He said any Pittsburgher can propose a new vending site to the Vending Sites Committee.

"As long as it's safe and doesn't impact the brick-and-mortar [stores], we'd probably approve it."