Boston's Morning Newsletter
The new rules for dogs (and dog owners) at patios and beer gardens in Boston
Editor's Note: This is an excerpt from WBUR's daily morning newsletter, WBUR Today. If you like what you read and want it in your inbox, sign up here.
Happy Friday — and happy Cinco de Mayo! Watch this Radio Boston demonstration on how to press your own corn tortillas. Then, listen to this Here & Now segment on what makes a great taco for fun filling ideas, from simple beef and cheese to — yes — asparagus.
Dining out? Check out Eater Boston’s list of the area’s 14 best tacos.
Now, to the news:
Speaking of dining out, here’s something to wag your tail about: You’ll soon be allowed to bring your dog(s) to certain beer gardens and patios in Boston. Mayor Michelle Wu announced a new policy yesterday permitting restaurants to set up outdoor “dog friendly spaces” as soon as June 1.
- Zoom in: The program depends on individual restaurants applying, so it doesn’t automatically mean you’ll be able to bring your pooch to every patio. It’s a good idea to check first.
- Zoom out: Massachusetts state law has deferred to FDA rules that prohibit live animals anywhere on restaurants’ premises. But last week, the FDA changed those rules, saying pet dogs are OK at outdoor dining areas, “where approved.”
- Behave yourself: Wu’s office shared a list of guidelines for dog owners at any of the new pet-friendly spaces. They include:
- All dogs must always be leashed or in a pet carrier.
- You’re not allowed to let dogs eat off plates.
- Dogs also aren’t allowed to sit on the table or in chairs. (Editor’s note: Booo!)
- Consider bringing your dog a disposable water bowl.
- What they’re saying: Wu’s office said the change is in response to growing interest from the community. “Residents and small business owners have been eager for four-legged family members to be able to enjoy our outdoor spaces too, so we’re happy to make this regulatory change allowing dogs on outdoor patios and beer gardens,” Wu said.
Get ready for the first weekend MBTA service diversion of the month. Beginning tonight through Sunday, the Silver Line will be re-rerouted to street level around Courthouse station due to construction work. And downtown Red Line service will be replaced by shuttle buses between Park Street and JFK/UMass on Saturday and Sunday.
- Go deeper: For more details on the coming line closures, check out our day-by-day guide to this month’s MBTA service disruptions.
- Progress? The diversions do appear to be paying some dividends. TransitMatters’ slow zones tracker shows the T has lifted about 10-minutes-worth of speed restrictions on the Red and Orange lines in the last week. (There’s still a long way to go.)
On a related note: Wondering what’s been holding up the Somerville community path extension along the Green Line? The MBTA recently said the 2-mile project won’t open until mid-June, pushing the limits of the vaguely worded “spring” opening timeline.
- But why? A bike path seems pretty simply compared to the rest of the massive Green Line Extension project. As state Rep. Mike Connolly explained in a detailed Twitter thread yesterday, safety and accessibility issues have forced crews to redesign — and even redo — parts of the path. (Plus, he has lots of photos.)
A bigger, boozier Trader Joe’s is coming to Boston’s Back Bay. The city’s Licensing Board voted yesterday to approve a liquor license for a new 16,512-square-foot Trader Joe’s at 500 Boylston St. near Copley Square — just a few blocks from Back Bay’s existing TJ’s.
- The Boston Business Journal reports the grocery store chain has “no plans” to close its current Back Bay location, which has been dubbed the smallest Trader Joe’s in the world.
It may not quite be beach weather this weekend, but that’s not the only thing keeping residents away. WBUR’s Morning Edition reports that, if you don’t live on the coast in New England, securing a spot at one of the region’s beaches can be tough and expensive.
- Listen: UMass Boston professor John Duff has been studying the issue, and spoke to host Rupa Shenoy about the changing restrictions.
- The silver lining: At least we don’t have to deal with Florida’s giant seaweed blobs.
P.S.— Do you know what Boston neighborhood was excluded from the city’s outdoor dining program this year? Then take our Boston News Quiz to see how you stack up against other WBUR readers.