I'm not sure why there's a brouhaha over the sidewalk in front of the planned new hotel at 500 Atlantic Avenue. Developers want to divert the sidewalk so there's pull-up valet parking, while walking advocates want an unbroken sidewalk as part of the Rose Kennedy greenway. But there's an easy solution - do both.
As I mentioned in an earlier post, the Hilton in midtown Manhattan does just that, using parallel sidewalks with a drive-up between them. Here's what it looks like:
The shot on the left shows that there's plenty of room for taxis or private cars to pull up and drop off passengers, and there's a sidewalk in front of the door. The shot on the right shows that there's also a continuous sidewalk, interrupted only by the driveway (which isn't as massive as it appears on the photo).
Pedestrian-appealing non-diverted sidewalks CAN co-exist with pull-up valet parking. It just has to be designed properly. It's already been done.