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Boston Residents Frustrated By Sidewalk Planters

By Bill Shields, WBZ-TV
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WBZ-TV's Bill Shields Bill Shields
Bill Shields is a general assignment reporter for WBZ-TV News. He...
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BOSTON (CBS) – With the growing season so short in Boston, it’s no wonder that summer brings out a burst of flowers on our streets. Window boxes and planters are filled with annuals, but city officials are now asking residents not to place planters on sidewalks if they are impeding pedestrians. “The basic rule is you need 48 inches to pass comfortably,” says Capt. Mike Mackan of Inspectional Services. “We appreciate that people want to beautify their neighborhood…but be conscious of how narrow sidewalks can be.”

planter Boston Residents Frustrated By Sidewalk Planters

Planters on South Boston sidewalk.

The problem is especially obvious on Beacon Hill, where the ancient sidewalks are sometimes less than three feet wide. And on many of the streets there, huge planters, filled with perennial shrubs, turn the sidewalks into a narrow pathway.

Jennifer Nelson just moved here from New York City. “I think it’s so pretty when people put the planters out front,” she says, “but I realize that’s why a lot of people walk in the street.”

But it’s not so simple for Kerri Dawson, who was pushing her daughter’s stroller on Myrtle street, not on the sidewalk. “It’s beautiful, but annoying,” she says. “When I have to walk in the street, I keep looking over my shoulder for cars but I can’t get the stroller past some of the plants on sidewalks.”

So the city is simply asking homeowners to just use some common sense and place planters in such a way that a stroller or wheelchair can get by.

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