Sandwich Board Program Under Review

The Boston City Council rejected continuing a pilot program that allowed street sandwich board signs without a permit. In 2015, the Mayor’s office proposed, and the Council approved, a temporary ordinance allowing all free-standing sandwich boards on public sidewalks as long as access was still made for pedestrians.

The Council voted on August 23, 2017 to reject without prejudice the Mayor’s proposal to make permanent the regulations instituted in 2015 as a pilot program for advertising on free-standing signs (sandwich boards).

Sidewalk clutter hasbern a concern expressed by Councilor Josh Zakim of Back Bay in busy areas such as Newbury Street.  The Mayor’s office has defended the program saying, “Sandwich board signs are significant marketing tools for small and local businesses, which are a critical part of the economy in the City of Boston and which my administration is strongly committed to supporting.”

An email from Council President Michelle Wu said, “Because this proposal was delivered from the Mayor as a 60-day order, the Council needed to take action procedurally, but the Government Operations Committee plans to hold a working session to review the ordinance as well as proposals from Councilor Zakim to amend the regulations regarding concerns about too many signs on Newbury Street.”

The Mayor’s office can reintroduce the proposal at a later date as Council’s committee studies the issue.