Philly Cracks Down On Sidewalk Cafe Violators

Philly Cracks Down On Sidewalk Cafe Violators

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PHILADELPHIA -

The City of Philadelphia is cracking down on sidewalk cafe offenders after officials say they have received complaints of blocked and impassable sidewalks.

The city says officials with the streets department will conduct monthly inspections to ensure restaurants are following sidewalk cafe requirements.

The department says it plans to work citywide to make sure the sidewalks are clear and safe for the public.

"The sidewalk network in Philadelphia is one of the city's greatest assets and sidewalk cafes are a wonderful addition, "acting streets commissioner David J. Perri said in a statement issued Friday.

Perri called the city's many sidewalk cafes a "valued amenity" but said cafe operators must keep the sidewalks safe.

"Cafe operators, however, need to adhere to their approved seating plans and be diligent in keeping public sidewalks safe and accessible for all users."

At least half of the sidewalk must be accessible to pedestrians, according to the rule.

Signs, sandwich boards, banners, "feather" signs and cafe seating beyond city approved licensed permits are not permitted in the public right-of-way, the streets department said.

Cafes that are not following their approved seating plan could risk being ticketed.

The crackdown started last week, when nearly a dozen Old City restaurants got hit with $75 fines for clogging the sidewalk, FOX 29's Chris O'Connell reported.

The city says the stepped up patrols are expected to continue through the summer.

The new enforcement is getting mixed reviews. Some people believe it's a money grab by the city, while others say they've noticed the crowded sidewalks.

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