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This Spring, Streets Department Pruning Unregistered Outdoor Cafes

By Mike Dunn

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Flowers aren’t the only things that blossom with the arrival of spring.  Philadelphia officials say the sidewalks bloom with tables and chairs — set out by cafes and restaurants, often without approval.

It’s a rite of spring for Streets Commissioner Clarena Tolson. She has inspectors out each time the weather warms to better police the cafes that decide to offer sidewalk dining, but never get permission.

“Most of them are eateries that are putting out tables and chairs. And sometimes they will put them on both sides of the sidewalk. And at times, they will have them along the curb line in a manner that may not be safe for those who are dining.”

Tolson says it’s also a concern for pedestrians, “Having the furniture without permit in the walkway prevents pedestrians from navigating the sidewalks safely. Sometimes it will force pedestrians into the roadway, and we don’t want to do that.”

So Tolson is putting out the word to businesses that have done or to plan to do so soon to obtain a city outdoor café license. And she asks pedestrians who are concerned about potential safety problems related to outdoor dining to call in the location to 311.

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  • M..........

    How about going after the registered places that have permission for 10 tables and put out 20. Old City at 3rd and Market, Gigi on 3rd street, 13th between Samson and Chestnut, Parc…all illegal in their outdoor table setup leaving 3 feet of sidewalk space for pedestrians.

  • Mandoza

    This city is a joke. Can’t believe I was stupid enough to buy a house here. Worst decision of my life. How much money do I need to donate to a local politician’s campaign to get the city to ticket residents of my neighborhood for trash, noise, abandoned vehicles, etc etc etc? 911 is a joke and so is 311.

  • dave

    Reads like another great concept from a bunch of politicians that have no idea how to run a business and/or make the economy flourish!…punish the business owners that are struggling to make a living, pay the salaries of the “public officials”, and make the city great. Instead they transform it into put the small business owners out of work, have the city/state/federal governments in financial distress, and force businesses and people out of the city. Sounds good to me!

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