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Citizen complaint of the day: Summertime pedestrian hazard in the Back Bay

Grazing herd on Huntington.Grazing herd on Huntington.

You're making quick, purposeful strides on your way to an important meeting or assignation or whatever, when you have to stop short because of a slow-moving herd of tourist right in front of you. You get ready to zip around them, when blam: You have to stop again because another lumbering herd of tourist is coming at you head on from the other direction. You're trapped: You have to wait for the two herds to slowly shuffle past (and hope they don't get helplessly entangled).

It's especially acute on Boylston and Newbury streets, but a frustrated citizen complains about the tourist resting grounds on Huntington Avenue by the Pru:

The Duck Tours departing from Huntington Ave are no doubt extremely popular but there needs to be some effort to keep the sidewalks clear by seating those waiting. It's like trying to walk through a packed bar sometimes.

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Comments

Ugh, wrong thread. Too early for me.

Regarding this one, it's true, there's a big crowd of people there on a public sidewalk.

People aren't on their way to big meetings, they're on their way to/from the Shaws supermarket, so they most-likely have big bags of groceries.

Tourists aren't known for being attentive to their surroundings, which is why the complainer is probably complaining.

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That's an excellent description of life in the neighborhood throughout the summer and on weekends the rest of the year. That's when we impatient walkers head to the Commonwealth Avenue Mall. It's shadier and cooler than Newbury in summer and always less crowded. Even though you need to detour for a couple of blocks, you'll still get where you're going faster. (Unless you get hit by a tourist on a rental bike.)

The other drawback, of course, is that you can't window shop or check out what people are wearing. But sometimes that's a good thing.

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should rent a retail location to store the masses prior to their departure rather than running a bussiness on a public sidewalk.

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You hit the nail on the head right there.

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It's getting retarded.

If people, tourist and non-tourist alike, just paid attention to their surroundings, and showed basic consideration for others, this would be far less of a problem than it is. Walking around the B.B. is an especially frustrating experience. The sidewalk hogs who walk [usually slowly] 3-4 abreast and make little or no attempt to let others pass in the opposite direction is out of control. Maybe some noticeable public service type posters or whatever reminding people to be attentive to their surroundings and show basic politeness towards others would help. But this city's government, unlike NYC, won't dare do anything that might upset tourist.

But public sidewalks are public sidewalks. Why are private businesses allowed to basically take over a public sidewalk? NYC has cracked down on this, why isn't Boston?

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Boston can't even be bothered to meter commercial parking in some areas let alone set market rates for public on street parking. Do you really think a city which can't or won't enforce parking laws, which would generate revenue, is going to enforce against sidewalk encroachment?

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The sidewalk hogs have been doing that for a long time.

The problem, frankly, is that most people are stupid and/or selfish.

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These slow walkers also block egress at T stops wth narrow platforms such as Aquarium. There is no way to get by them as one side is wall and the other side is the tracks. And I am not talking about people with legitimate mobility issues, I am talking about people moving about in a haze, totally in their own world, as if they have nowhere in the world to be. They have no consideration of others who might indeed have somewhere to be, or who just move with purpose.

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That nice wide driveway thingy was the perfect meet-up and take-off location for those big buses. I couldn't believe it when they moved them around to the Huntington side of the Pru. Poor planning!

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That "nice wide driveway thingy" hasn't been there for years. It's all full of buildings now.

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Perhaps that's why he/she used the word "was."

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The duck tours pickup should be moved down to the P.F. Changs area on Belvedere Street. The street is 4-5 lanes wide for very little traffic toward the hotels and could easily absorb the Duck Tours without clogging up Huntington Avenue or sidewalks anymore.

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Right! The duck boats were moved so they could build those buildings for gawdawful Gucci and the Mandarin, neither of which most of the people riding Duck Boats will ever enter. I stand by my original statement.

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The spot where the Duck Tours used to depart on Boylston Street is now the Mandarin Oriental Boston hotel. There's is just no room for them on Boylston now. There are a lot of people in town right - visiting, working, and living here - who make our city an attractive place and better for all.

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Why are the Duck Tours allowed to block half the sidewalk with those bench things?

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Damn tourists, standing on our sidewalk! Get ahhffah my praaah-per-tee!

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But it's probably not a place worth visiting. Many people live in very boring and dull places, which is why they have the constant need to travel, even if it's just to a mall.

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Did the City of Boston issue permits for the sidewalk seating and other crap businesses put on PUBLIC sidewalks to obstruct them?

If no permits were issued, Duck Tours should be fined and made to remove the seating. If they don't, haul it off in a garbage truck and bill Duck Tours.

Sidewalks are publicly owned property for the movement of people. Privately owned crap doesn't belong on them any more than in the middle of the street. The public also should not be providing free land for restaurants to have outdoor seating. It might be allowed with significant monthly rental fees.

If the City issued permits for Duck Tours seating, shame on them.

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That's right. Duck Tours just put the benches there with no permit. Really, do you think that's what happened?

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Did the City of Boston issue permits for the sidewalk seating and other crap businesses put on PUBLIC sidewalks to obstruct them?

If no permits were issued, Duck Tours should be fined and made to remove the seating. If they don't, haul it off in a garbage truck and bill Duck Tours.

Sidewalks are publicly owned property for the movement of people. Privately owned crap doesn't belong on them any more than in the middle of the street. The public also should not be providing free land for restaurants to have outdoor seating. It might be allowed with significant monthly rental fees.

If the City issued permits for Duck Tours seating, shame on them.

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