District police arrested three people and handed out at least 30 tickets yesterday during the first day of enforcement of the city's controversial new sidewalk vending regulations.
The new regulations went into effect May 25, but the city had agreed to delay enforcement until yesterday. The regulations include restrictions on location and operating hours; violators receive $50 tickets.
Two men were arrested in separate incidents in which vendors fought over a location, said John Thompson, a police officer with the police vending squad. One man was arrested after a scuffle in the 1700 block of I Street NW and another man was arrested after a fight at 13th and Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Thompson said.
The vendor in the I Street incident was charged with assault, said police spokesman Richard Walsh, also of the vending squad. The other arrests were for vending violations.
"We're having a lot of problems because there are new sites where people can vend, but they haven't been out to scout for them," said Walsh. "It's first come, first served.
"Vendors call us up and say, 'Where can I vend?' [although] they've had enough time to find a place," said Walsh. "The grace period was pretty long."
Major changes in the vending regulations include limiting hours of business and allowing vendors to sell only in downtown or in a specified "neighborhood commercial zone," which is any commercial strip near a residential area, such as Georgia Avenue NW or Benning Road, Johnson explained.
Johnson said according to the new regulations stands must close at 10 p.m. weeknights and 1 a.m. on weekends; stands and equipment must be removed during non-vending hours; vendors must possess a current license, which must be worn face out; vendors are prohibited from selling live animals, power tools, luggage, household appliances and furniture, and vendors can't set up at subway stations, loading zones or Metro bus stops.
Free copies of the regulations are available from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays at the Business Service Division of the Business Regulation Administration, 614 H St. NW, Room 100.
"We're giving the regs away," Johnson said. "There's no need for vendors to put themselves in jeopardy."