NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — It’s the hustle and bustle that brings thousands to downtown Nashville every day, and some say street vendors play a role in the energy of the area.
“It’s kind of fun to look around and see everything that’s going on and yes we have been making some purchases,” said visitor Alex Doherty.
But come Thursday, July 21st their presence will no longer be there.
Last week, Metro’s Traffic and Parking Commission voted to ban vendors from many of the city’s most popular streets.
Mayor John Cooper wrote a letter to the commission pushing for the ban citing the vendors as disrupting traffic flow and creating safety risks for those visiting the area.
“I think that’s a little wild considering these are normal people just trying to make a living,” said resident Amber Meers. “All they want to do is bring food to people that maybe don’t want to pay extra money at a bar.”
Vendors will be banned from most of the lower downtown area as well as a large stretch of Demonbreun Street.
The upcoming change is something some people aren’t a fan of.
“I never felt like they were getting in the way of what we were trying to do and it’s also a small business,” said Doherty. “We are very pro small businesses so I say keep them on the street.”
“I mean people, they drink a lot,” said Bernie Gilmore. “People come here to drink so you figure when they drink so much and there’s places to eat but then you actually got to go in sit down…it’s not something you can pick up and keep moving.”
And while the sights and sounds are great, the local vendors are something most visitors say help make downtown what it is.
“I think that’s something that people appreciate,” said Meers. “It just makes them feel like they’ve got the Nashville experience.”
News 2 reached out to the mayor’s office who shared that Metro Nashville Police will be assisting NDOT with enforcing the new restrictions in the short term.
The mayor’s office also says they sent out letters to all the licensed vendors last week notifying them of the prohibited areas.
They say the restrictions will go into effect July 21 and are asking all street vendors currently operating in the restricted areas to have their equipment removed by that time.