Perhaps the most high-profile Informal Urban Indicator that can be spotted around Carrboro, Durham, and many other cities is the Food Truck. Whether committed to a regular spot or broadcasting its movements on Twitter, the repeated presence of one or more food trucks in a certain place is usually hinting at one thing: “this part of town could absorb more dining and perhaps more retail options.” If the place where the repeat appearances occur is single-use and does not include food service as part of its by-right zoning, the food trucks provide a hint on where mixed-use is warranted, and in some cases, desperately needed. (there’s a reason why whenever RTP hosts a food truck rodeo at their HQ, lines for lunch are 30 minutes long or longer)
Food trucks are particularly interesting as urban indicators because of their ability to relocate in response to demand for their food, albeit within constraints imposed by town operating rules. To my knowledge, Carrboro’s rules are rather simple and require that the food truck has a permit to operate in Carrboro, that it can park in any lots specified on a map maintained by the town, and pay $75 to be a vendor.
Below are some additional photographs I have taken of the Carrboro food truck scene over the last few years. At the end of the post, you can see a map of where food trucks are commonly found in town, and the coverage area bound by those locations.
Below is a map of regular food truck locations in Carrboro. Zoom out slightly for a full view. View Carrboro Food Truck Locations in a larger map #informalurbanindicators