The deal that the city cut with Samir Benak-moume over the sidewalk in front of his 1352 Lofts strikes me as part of a worrisome pattern. The developer clearly made a gross mistake in building a ramp 6-feet, 7-inches into the public sidewalk. Yet in trying to undo the damage, city officials first determined how much space the developer needed for his retail ramp. The public was then allocated the left overs.
Perhaps we shouldn't be surprised. That's the exact same approach the city used to determine the width of the sidewalks for the planned reconstruction of the South Street bridge (image). First the engineers calculated how much space would be needed for cars if two new dedicated turning lanes were added to the road deck. Then they calculated the maximum road deck the existing bridge piers can hold - 83 feet. Once they divvied up the space for the cars and two 5-foot bikes paths (Give them credit for including those), there was only 18 feet left over. And so on a bridge where motorists will be hellbent for glory (and those merge-or-die I-76 entrance ramps), pedestrians are left with just two 9-foot refuges. Will a day ever come where the sidewalk space is allocated first?