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Mayor, St. Patrick's Day Parade Organizers At Odds Over Route

BOSTON (CBS) - Boston's mayor and event organizers are at odds over the route of the annual St. Patrick's Day Parade.

On Wednesday, Mayor Marty Walsh announced that the route will be shortened after the latest winter storm brought blizzard conditions and over a foot of snow to the city. The snow route starts at Broadway and ends at Farragut Road.

"Anyone logical can look out and see that there's all kinds of snow on the route," Mayor Walsh told WBZ-TV.

But the group that organizes the event, the South Boston Allied War Veterans Council, says the parade should follow its traditional, longer route.

"It needs to go by certain spots, one being Dorchester Heights and the Veterans Posts. But, there's a lot of elderly that are on the traditional route that will not get to see the parade," parade organizer Timothy Duross said.

Duross says the Mayor's Office encouraged the Council to shorten the route before the snow began to fall.

In 2016, the Council brought the city to court and prevailed when Mayor Walsh tried to shorten the route that year. A federal judge found that shortening the route would have violated the parade organizers' right to free assembly and expression.

"I don't know why he hasn't gotten the message already," Duross said.

On Wednesday evening, Mayor Walsh was adamant that this year's decision is about public safety.

"It's a public safety concern," Walsh said. "It's either that or cancel the parade and I don't think they want the parade canceled."

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