By Jim Melwert
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Philadelphia city officials have set their sights on illegal benches that are popping up around the city.
The advertising benches are typically cement and wood, and advertise everything from strip clubs to contractors to check-cashing firms to diners.
Philadelphia acting streets commissioner David Parri says his department started getting complaints last fall.
“They’re often in a state of disrepair, they attract graffiti and trash, they’re typically installed without the permission of the abutting property owner,” Parri tells KYW Newsradio.
He says the benches are being put in places where they’re visible to traffic but they obstruct sidewalks, making it hard for wheelchairs or parents pushing strollers to get through. He says they are also an added obstruction for the visually impaired.
Parri says the city will start removing the benches this weekend, at an estimated $2,000 a day for labor and equipment.
A $75 fine will be levied against the company advertising on the bench, and possible fines against any property owners who allow the benches on their property easement.
Confiscation of the benches was going to start last weekend, but many companies said they’d remove them themselves, which Parri says will save the city money on the removal.