Some observers have said this is a small opening, especially for those with baby strollers or in large groups.
Marshal Thomas Howard, in response to a question on the matter, said he is concerned by the diminished passage way but indicated that restaurants are operating within the city’s ordinance, which is approved by the Public Safety Committee.
Ward 3 City Councilor Robert Cronin, who heads the Public Safety Committee, said, “I think outdoor seating attracts visitors to Newburyport and they assist in making what is a short summer a successful one for restaurants and all the other shops.
“There are times when the sidewalks are congested with visitors with strollers, toddlers or the family dog; back-ups occur.
“I’d rather accentuate the positive and I say what is happening (outdoor seating) is a good thing. I haven’t heard a complaint, but if there are complaints then the code enforcement officer can address these complaints individually.”
The sidewalks on the east side of State Street are narrower than those on the other side, and thus most congestion has occurred on the narrower side of the street.
Cronin is running for re-election.