The 28 pushcart vendors who work out of Boston’s Downtown Crossing can stay through the end of this year, but 14 of them will need to find new locations in the fall because of construction at the former Filene’s site.
The plans were disclosed during a meeting Friday with the pushcart owners, city officials, and members of the Downtown Business Improvement District, which had previously proposed eliminating the existing pushcart program after permits expired at the end of March.
Allowing street vendors to stay for the rest of 2013 is an improvement over the 60-day extension issued by Mayor Thomas M. Menino after pushcart operators fought back with a lawsuit and online petition in an attempt to stay in business.
“I’m happy that they are working with us and that we get another year here,” said Craig Caplan, who runs two carts—The Unique Boutique and Boston Souvenirs—and leases out six others. “We are hopeful they come up with a game plan for 2014 and that we can be included in it.”
The business group has hired consultants to help design a smaller, upgraded street vendor program for 2014 that features both permanent and moveable kiosks, as well as improved pushcarts, according to Rosemarie Sansone, president of the Downtown Boston Business Improvement District, a group of property owners in the area.
“We were lucky we were able to put this interim plan together so that everyone can operate through the end of the year except for the 14 locations,” Sansone said. “We are going to have to find other spaces and are hopeful that we will be able to accommodate everyone.”
The long beleaguered Downtown Crossing has become a major construction hub over the past year as developers aim to take advantage of the improving economy and an increase in the number of young professionals moving into Boston.