Even since the smoking ban went into effect, it seems like the streets of downtown are packed with people sitting outside. At lunch time or dinner time, it seems like the patio seating that every restaurant along Nicollet mall uses pushes further and further out into the sidewalk. Sometimes it seems like the only option is to walk in the street. Clearly, the demand for outdoor seating where people can smoke is very high, but the nuissance factor seems to be rising. I'm not complaining about the smoke, either. I smoke, and so it doesn't really bother me. However, I'm not callous about the desires of nonsmokers. At lunch time in downtown, the streets are far more packed than the restaurants are on the inside. The smoking ban seems to have caused more people to be exposed to smoke on Nicollet mall. But mostly, I'm just more and more annoyed that the sidewalks of Nicollet mall are becoming impassable. Crammed with the throngs of people into the sliver of sidewalk that isn't taken up by patio seating. Obviously the city must have a rule about how far the patio seating can extend into the sidewalk. 80% of the available space just seems like a bit much.