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Boston brings back streetside dining program, with limits in the North End

Boston announced today it's accepting applications from restaurants that want to use public sidewalks and curbs for seasonal outdoor patios - except along the narrow, crowded streets of the North End, where restaurants will again be barred from setting up tables along the curb.

The outdoor dining program, started in response to the pandemic, will cost restaurant owners $399 a month if they have a liquor license and $199 a month if they don't, starting May 1 and running through Oct. 31.

The owners of a number of North End restaurants last month sued over the North End restrictions, charging it's discriminatory against Italians. A small group of restaurant owners had earlier withdrawn a similar suit that charged Mayor Wu specifically hated white Italian men.

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Comments

"Public sidewalks and curbs" that means taking away parking spots for residents, for restaurant patrons, and shoppers. Have not seen one outdoor dining areas that is not gross and disgusting. The little sheds they build and the surrounding areas never get cleaned until they get removed. Perfect environment for Rats, steady supply of food scraps, and plenty of little places to hide. Mind the fact that most of the outdoor dining sheds stay unused by humans for half the time because of the weather. Rat City!

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Were the streets clean when you used to tie an onion around you belt, which was the style of the time?

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For attractive and well-maintained ad hoc dining areas: on Shawmut and Tremont and at either end of Union Park. I can name 10 spots there. Add the brilliant scene at Petit Robert on Columbus.

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I agree! That little Greek place, Kava has a lovely corner to set up on, and in general, the South End along Shawmut and other sleepy one way streets are beautiful places to dine. Aquitaine and the Black Lamb are lucky enough to have a little dead end street between them, and they make it so charming there on a summer night.

But not every restaurant is lucky enough to have a cute and suitable sidewalk. I live in a large building in Southie, which is not a cute street scape, where busses wizz by all day, and the restaurant downstairs keeps setting up the saddest on-street patio, that makes the whole street look totally shabby. No one sits there, because traffic is endless on that corner, and busses look like they come right at you, but hey, they are going to keep doing it over neighbor's objections, even though, like in the North End, they have lost alot of business from their immediate neighbors.

I guess all you can do is let people throw their tantrums and run their businesses into the ground.

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The rat population has exploded since the City allowed this. This isn’t Mexico or Europe, we have climate controlled indoor facilities where you can eat. If indoor restaurants had floors that are as filthy as outdoor seating, the health department would close them down in a heartbeat.

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Those curb spots belong to the public, all of the public, not just car owners who want to store personal property, rent free. Parking is not always the highest use of a public resource, deal with it.

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This is a relief and it's in keeping with the wishes of most residents and many restaurant owners. The thing I have trouble understanding is why so many non-residents have such strong (and uninformed) opinions about the topic. My favorites are the ones who suggest moving the fire station. North Enders are not trying to dictate what happens in other neighborhoods. If other neighborhoods want outdoor dining in their streets, they are welcome to it.

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Covid ended over a year ago. You didn’t have to be a clairvoyant to know street dining was not going to end with it.

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A) COVID is still around.

B) The patio program proved to be a thing people like, so the city decided to keep it

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You forgot the flu and RSV, not mention the measles.

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Indicate the number of boosters you've received.

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I get at least 3 boosters a day. I think I'm up to 6,027. You?

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Yawn
Get new material, anon

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Pettiness is not hate.

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This is one of a vanishingly small list of positive things to come out of the pandemic.

Why is it news that the city is "bringing it back" this year? After four seasons, is it not time to declare the experiment a success, and treat it the same as a common victualler's license?

Cynically, I feel like City Hall likes "temporary" programs because it gives them political leverage. Slightly less cynically, I feel like it's just another case of how City Hall kills progress and good ideas with endless committee meetings and hearings and reconsideration.

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What do you think is a reasonable rent for a restaurant to pay the rest of us for exclusive use of our sidewalk. If your answer is $0, that is why we don’t want it to become permanent. This has nothing to do with whether or not people think sidewalk dining is a good thing… most like it… it has to do with fair pricing.

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Fair pricing, getting the physical size of each one right, safety barricades, wheelchair accessibility, cleanliness, and the list goes on.

It seems pretty clear it will stick around in some form, but the details continue to be in flux precisely because it's still in the broad experimental phase.

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If the space used by the restaurant were instead used for parking, what would the car owner pay? That's the amount the restaurant should pay.

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...that not even a restaurant would have the chutzpah to park on the sidewalk.

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for 8 hours a day, that's roughly $480 per parking spot, per month. unless my math/process is wrong, it seems restaurants are receiving a massive discount by your metric

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