Back Bay resident Alan Williams was distracted by a nice looking Ferrari when he tripped over the sandwich board advertising for at 279 Newbury Street.
“I was looking across the street, and I walked into one and did a tumble,” Williams said. He had a pretty decent fall, and got a road rash on his knee.
Glancing up and down the block, the Kashmir board was he could have fallen over. Signs big and small - some out on the sidewalk, some pushed in closer to the shops – are a staple along the busy, pedestrian-heavy artery.
“They’re dangerous, they’re a public safety hazard, and there’s too many people on Newbury Street for them,” Williams said.
Indeed, “They’re totally illegal, all of them that you see,” said Michele Messino, executive director of the business organization. “But they’re definitely needed. The clients need some kind of signs out there to draw businesses from the street.”
Just recently, the League started working with the city’s Back Bay Architectural Commission to establish regulations for the signs.
“We’re very early on in the process, but working toward a goal that will improve the look of the street and prevent any safety issues in the future,” Messino said.
In the meantime, Boston’s Code Enforcement department was alerted to the problem, and soon after Memorial Day officers paid a visit to a few businesses.
A violation ranges from $50 - $300, but they didn’t hand out any tickets because none of the signs were on the sidewalk.
“The signs were back on private property,” said Chief Michael Mackan. Plus, “When we have the ability to speak to and educate someone, we do that first,” he added.
They’re still supposed to have permits, but that’s handled by the Inspectional Services department – which did go through and confiscate signs from a number of businesses back in 2006.
“There are so many issues relative to these things,” Messino said.
Check back tomorrow morning for Part 2 of the series.