Dear Editor: Eliminating late-night vending is not a solution to downtown's late night problems. Besides not solving any problems, this proposal is anti-small business. The city isn't considering closing Brother's, Wando's, or Ian's Pizza. Instead, this proposal targets one of the few low-barrier entry points for businesses to enter Madison's downtown commercial life. This will disproportionately affect minority- and women-owned businesses that lack the connections to establishment capital and networks.
State Street in particular is already losing many of its quirky shops and local character to bars and national/regional chains. Rents for limited downtown commercial spaces continue to rise with the density above them. It is important for the city to do what it can to provide opportunities for local businesses to start and grow, and not to raise barriers to them with unnecessary regulation.
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