The City Council agreed today to take a look at how to make Newbury Street safe for pedestrians - especially those in wheelchairs or pushing strollers - on sidewalks increasingly cluttered with signboards advertising local shops.
Councilor Josh Zakim (Back Bay, Beacon Hill, Fenway, Mission Hill) says the problem is particularly acute in the winter, when accumulations of snow and ice make already narrow sidewalks even narrower.
He and Councilor Michael Flaherty (at large) both pointed to a sandwich-board arms race - store owners who normally would have no truck with the signs feel compelled to buy and deploy them because their competitors have rolled them out.
The city currently has a pilot program to develop guidelines for specific neighborhoods for the boards. Flaherty said sandwich boards seem to work well on your wider Broadways, Dot Aves and Centre Streets, but that the narrower commercial streets of the Back Bay might warrant particular attention.