The sandwich board ordinance that allows businesses to place free-standing signs on the sidewalks without a permit so long as they follow a list of requirements is coming to an end later this month. The Boston City Council will now decide whether to extend it or make revisions.

Under the current ordinance, sandwich board signs must be no larger than 24″ x 36″, in good condition, only outside during business hours of operation, and display content only related to goods for sale.

As council members discussed what to do with the ordinance moving forward, concerns raised included a lack of enforcement, crowded sidewalks, and wind blowing the signs into the street.

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What do you think? Do you find sandwich board signs to be a nuisance on the North End & Waterfront sidewalks? Vote in our poll and add your comments in the section below.

Web polls are unscientific and reflect only those who choose to participate. NorthEndWaterfront.com polls do not have any official significance and are only intended for the interest of our readers.

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15 COMMENTS

  1. It’s not a big deal to me one way or the other. It is a bigger deal for the small business. Rents around here are painful enough. I can’t see the value of inflicting more pain.

    • There are signs that are just too big for the sidewalks in the North End. They make it difficult to walk for people with assistive devices, people in wheel chairs or motorized scooters, people with strollers and the elderly especially on Salem St. If a restaurant has a line out the door every night they do not need a large sandwich board that takes up over half the sidewalk! Someone who has a business on a side street should not be putting their sign on the corner of Salem St blocking a handicapped ramp. Businesses need to be considerate towards the people who live here. Asking them to obey the regulations is not inflicting pain on the businesses. Blocking the sidewalks inflicts pain and inconvenience to pedestrians.

      • It’s not as if they are eveywhere, only on main thoroughfares to mark the business. Compare this with restaurants that occupy over 50%of sidewalk space or feasts that occupy 100% of sidewalk space. Broken sidewalks are a much bigger for the handicapped. Motorized scooter are a nuisance and shouldn’t use the sidewalks. Typically, during the summer I avoid Hanover St altogether, but that has nothing to do with the signs.

  2. Though I understand and appreciate the concern regarding crowded sidewalks and wind blowing them over, I think the signs are critical to North End local businesses, especially those locations which are “hidden”. They are generally cute and draw positive attention to our local entrepreneurs.

  3. It looks like the first issue mentioned is lack of enforcement. If the sign blows away, the store owner should be stuck with a large fine and be responsible for all damage and harm. But if there is no enforcement, then the whole discussion is mute.

  4. A pedestrian, a sandwich board, and a car are served a plate of 20 cookies. The car eats 18 of them and tells the pedestrian: HURRY grab your cookies before the sandwich board eats them.

    Our streets have plenty of space, but few sidewalks are wider than the parking spaces next to them.

    • Jared were you ran over by a car when you were a child? I have never seen anyone with such disdain towards a convenient way to get around in my whole entire life!

      • “were you ran over by a car when you were a child”

        What a weird thing to ask. Each year 2,000 children are killed by cars and 2.3 million people in total are injured. 330 pedestrians were struck by vehicles in Boston alone last year. Several of them didn’t survive.

        In the North End, a ridiculous 55% of our usable open space is used for roads and parking (much of it given away for free). Sidewalks make up less than 15%.

        I don’t understand why you would mock someone who calls out factors that contribute to these numbers.

        • Suggestions of parking bans are foolish. The city has a big enough issue with parking already, not to mention affordabilty. Most of the places in the North End come without parking and the ones that do have parking are only affordable to people who can afford roughly a million dollar place. Parking garages are really expensive too. Sort of hypocritical to bemoan the plight of lower incomes and then take away things that are affordable to them.

  5. IMO the signs are less of an impediment on the sidewalks than the people who block them waiting to get into the restaurants or the bakeries.

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