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Keeping the “Walk” In Sidewalk Cafes

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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The beautiful weather has more diners seeking sidewalk tables and more restaurants putting them out – sometimes at the expense of pedestrians.

The Philadelphia Streets Department is warning sidewalk cafes that it’s planning an enforcement effort. Diners say they do enjoy the sidewalk tables, “It’s a nice day to be outside.” Or it reminds them of other places where sidewalk cafes are all the rage, “It’s more of a European feel I guess.”

But streets department officials say pedestrians are less enchanted by them at this time of year. So they are making sure restaurants are observing the rules, such as the one requiring at least five feet of clear sidewalk.

Manager Kevin Bagby admits Sonny’s Famous Steaks in Old City has been on the short side of that one. “Out-of-towners don’t realize that and they will re-arrange everything and block the entire walkway not realizing that this is a city block in the heart of the city so…”

Bagby says Sonny’s has removed a couple tables to comply but there are still some tight squeezes nearby.

Dan Nemeroff negotiated his bike around diners on 2nd Street. But he thinks the Streets Department has bigger problems.

“The dining doesn’t bother me so much. It bothers me when they are building things and they block the whole thing off. I’ll move a few feet, I don’t care, but to have to have to cross the street repeatedly, that’s a pain,” added Nemeroff.

Reported By Pat Loeb, KYW Newsradio