By RICK WINTERSON
The City of Boston has denied a permit for the full route of the St. Patrick’s/Evacuation Day Parade this year. The city severely shortened the route that had been used for more 70 years, according to an update from the South Boston Allied War Veterans Council, the organization which has been responsible for the parade since 1947.
“At our February 22nd Meeting at City Hall, The City of Boston, without prior notice, Shortened our Parade by More than Half,” read a notice distributed to community members Monday evening.
The parade, which is scheduled for Sunday, March 20, will only be permitted to march on Broadway, dispersing at Farragut Road. This is just half the distance that had been previously permitted. (According to the parade website and a map of the route posted online, the parade was scheduled to start on West Broadway, proceed to East Broadway, turn right onto East 4th Street, turn left onto K Street, turn right onto East Fifth Street, turn left on G Street, turn right on Thomas Park, left onto Telegraph Street, and finally turn left onto Dorchester Street, where the parade would end.)
The above-mentioned half-route was in fact used last year for the 2015 parade. This, of course, was made necessary by last year’s record snowstorms – over nine feet – resulting in many impassable streets in South Boston. Clearly, this reason does not apply this year, yet no appeal hearing on the city’s decision was allowed.
“The Veterans and the Parade organizers running the event are shocked and dissatisfied with this change,” reads a statement on the parade’s official Facebook page.
The Allied War Veterans Council states that parade traditions will be violated by this decision. After all, actions on Dorchester Heights, which would no longer be on the parade route, brought about the original Evacuation Day in 1776. And the shortened parade route will prevent passing various veterans posts and ending in Andrew Square.
The police have done an excellent job of crowd control in the past. The Allied War Veterans Council questions whether the 2016 spectators, perhaps numbering as many as a million, can be as easily controlled if they are all compressed onto half the usual route along Broadway.