Outdoor dining squeezes Portland's sidewalks

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News,Business

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — A battle is brewing in Portland between restaurants putting tables on the sidewalks to satisfy customer demand for alfresco dining and those who say the sidewalks are being impeded.

Sight-impaired pedestrians, wheelchair users, stroller-pushing parents and other walkers have lodged official complaints about restaurants overextending into the sidewalk space in violation of their permits and city ordinances.

Bud Buzzell, a 72-year-old sight-impaired resident, tells the Portland Press Herald (http://bit.ly/1uJT9JB ) the narrowed sidewalks near his home are becoming an increasingly frustrating and dangerous maze.

Restaurant owners say outdoor dining is popular and helps drive up business. Officials with a downtown business group say they are attempting to strike a proper balance.

City Manager Mark Rees said during a recent city council meeting that the city takes the matter very seriously.

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Information from: Portland Press Herald, http://www.pressherald.com

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