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This help desk is a free resource intended for discussion purposes only. Neither BOMA, its chapters, affiliates, or Extreme Measures Inc.® are responsible for the information, comments or opinions expressed herein. For complete information, refer to the official publications of the standards themselves.

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Classification of public thoroughfare

Garret Dillabough
January 31, 2019

I have a situation with two neighboring buildings, and a shared walkway between them on private land, however the walkway is open to and used by the public. Not a street frontage, but Would this count as a public thoroughfare? - so that usable areas along this walkway are measured to the external dominant surface, as opposed to internal?

Even though it is on privately owned land I think it does classify as public thoroughfare due to its regular use by public, but am having a hard time finding evidence for or against my opinion.

Your expert opinion is greatly appreciated!


David Fingret
Extreme Measures Inc.
January 31, 2019

Hi Garret

A couple of questions for you;

1. Are the Buildings owned by the same entity?
2. If so, are you combining both buildings together for your area analysis (treating it as a complex)?
3. Is the walkway enclosed?

Be aware that Public Thoroughfare is not a concept in BOMA 1996. Public Pedestrian Thoroughfare is a concept in the BOMA 2010 Office Standard which replaces "Store Area" in BOMA 1996. In either case, unenclosed areas are not included at all except for recessed entrances. Store Area (1996) and Public Pedestrian Thoroughfare (2010) only allow you to measure to the building line (outside finished surface of the building), where a public thoroughfare (2010) / street frontage (1996) exists.

To be clear, you cannot include the area of any unenclosed walkways, but you may measure to the outside wall of the building where a walkway exists if the conditions are met according to the standard. Your situation probably does not qualify under BOMA 1996 since your walkway connects two buildings and therefore I assume could not be Street Frontage as well.

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