City Promises To Crack Down on Sidewalk Dining


The Philadelphia Streets Department has announced it will be conducting monthly inspections to ensure restaurants are adhering to sidewalk dining requirements. The Streets department says an increase in complaints about blocked sidewalks has necessitated the crackdown.

The Street Department’s David Perri says “sidewalk cafes are a valued amenity as they promote a lively and festive atmosphere on City streets. Café operators however need to adhere to their approved seating plans and be diligent in keeping public sidewalks safe and accessible for all users.”

Sandwich boards, banners, “feather” signs are not permitted in the public right-of-way and sidewalk seating is only permitted in city-approved spots.

Violations for not having the correct permits or seating that doesn’t adhere to approved seating charts, will result in tickets and the demand for immediate compliance. Repeated violations can result in confiscation of signs, tables and chairs and could result in the loss of business licenses.

Philadelphia Streets Dept. [Official Site]

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  • Elle

    Well THAT’s a relief. I was getting really tired of all of this “enjoying the beautiful weather” and “spending time outside” nonsense. Thank goodness I’ll no longer have to deal with people enjoying their meals when I’m on my way somewhere! (Streets Department, let me know if you sort out garbage, panhandling, unruly teenage mobs, and the stench of urine.)

    • no

      Your enjoyment of the beautiful weather doesn’t override MY enjoyment of the beautiful weather. And I don’t enjoy having to squeeze my way though everyone and their stupid dogs when I’m trying to get to my destination for MY enjoyment. Where do you want me to walk, in the middle of the street?

      BTW, why would you want to eat in a street filled with, as you say, “garbage, panhandling, unruly teenage mobs, and the stench of urine?”

  • PhillyRob

    This is ridiculous. It’s easier to walk past a sidewalk cafe than it is to drive down the crater-laden streets of this city. And don’t get me started on the trash. The lazy fat cats in the Streets dept need a swift kick in the pothole.

  • Frankie fingerz

    Finally. I can’t wait until they take the tables away from the yuppies at parc and rouge. It’s about time that sidewalk becomes safe and accessible

    • Frank

      First: fat chance. Second: yuppies? If you’re going to complain, use updated slang. We would have accepted “hipsters” or “foodie elitists.” Third: most city streets have two sides. I know what you’re thinking: “That’s proposterous!” But it’s true. You can walk AROUND a table of outdoor diners and STILL get where you’re going. Will wonders never cease?

      • Abby

        I’ll be sure to let the next handicapped person I see struggling through a sidewalk cafe know that they should have had the sense to just cross the street. Really, some people just make things harder on themselves.

      • Sidewalks are for pedestrians first and dinning second dumbass.

  • Wendy’s

    It’s also about being in accordance to the law. If you have tables along the street/curb and they are separated from the building you can not serve alcohol to those tables. If the table is along the building you can serve alcohol. It’s such a pain to walk past/thru and get all of the dirty looks from the mugs of people eating in the middle of the sidewalk, pulling up chairs to take up even more sidewalk and the stupid yappy dogs everywhere. I also prefer to not walk in the street and risk public safety. My dog loves to walk past the tables and steal peoples food and drink…it’s actually hilarious.

    • Geno’s

      So the tables at Rogue along the street/curb….no booze???? Yeah, that’ll be the day.

    • Thatguy

      Actually, you can if there is no traffic on that side, i.e. cars parked. The code is wierd. I have worked at a restaurant where the biggest problem was guests taking tables and chairs to adjust them as they wished to accommodate themselves. When it was explained that we try to keep a right of way for beighbors and it was against the code and we might loose our stealing the guests laughed it off as not making sense. Most streets go both ways.

  • vfiorillo

    Excellent! More fines = more revenue that the city can misspend.

  • I walk most of the main streets in center city every night, I’m a street photographer. Watching the handicap trying to get by is painful, watching people almost being hit by cars because they’re being force to walk in the street is painful, watching arguments and fight erupt because someones table got bumped into is painful. Sidewalks are for pedestrians first and dinning second. Some of these place are affectively doubling their seating space for next to nothing.

    • Joe Wilson

      It makes the city vibrant and happening and improves life for everyone. Whats the difference between walking on a crowded sidealk and taking a crowded subway? Slow down and enjoy the city and its unique characteristics. Or stop in one of the sidewalk cafes, spend some money and make me happy!

      • barrygster

        Blocking sidewalks does not make it better for everyone, it deteriorates quality of life for many. We can have outdoor seating and still make sidewalks passable. The restaurants only do this now because they can get away with it. It’s already illegal.

  • pete

    I hope they start with 13th street. That sidewalk is not wide enough for outdoor dining. I hate those lesbians for squeezing as many tables as they can out there and for the douche bags who pay to eat in such an ugly environment between parked cars and people like me angrily trying to squeeze through to my destination.