[Tagging] Feature Proposal - RFC - Sidewalks as separate ways

Ed Hillsman ehillsman at tampabay.rr.com
Sun Apr 3 03:26:22 BST 2011

The discussion of the sidewalk issue seems to have stopped. I added  
some comments in the discussion section of the wiki last week, but  
there have been no further comments there or here in nearly a week.

I think each of the proposals (sidewalks as separate ways, and  
sidewalks as attributes of streets) has merit in different  
circumstances, and the choice of which to use should be optional. Like  
Josh Doe, I've been mapping sidewalks as separate ways, but that is  
because I've done most of my mapping in the suburban areas where I  
work and live. I've tried it a bit in downtown Tampa, and down there I  
think it makes more sense to tag them as attributes of roads. Except  
for a few block faces and intersections, where the city hasn't made  
curb/kerb cuts for wheelchairs yet. This means that some intersections  
have some sidewalks where wheelchairs can cross in some directions,  
but not in all. And for these I would code the sidewalks as separate  

With regard to routing, sidewalks on college campuses, in parks, and  
in cemeteries may be interior to a large area bounded by streets, and  
as a result some may not have an associated street to use for a name.A  
few sidewalks on a few campuses may have names of their own ("Slant  
Walk" on the Miami University (Ohio) campus, is one example), but most  
don't. So routing will need to come up with some other way to refer to  
them. This is an unresolved issue, but it's one for the routing, not  
for OSM to deal with (if there is no name, there is no name to tag).  
As an example on the University of South Florida campus, the route  
description at the left simply gives a list of way IDs. This is from  
an instance of the open-source OpenTripPlanner running on a test  
server in our lab, not configured yet for heavy use.


Where a street parallels a street, but at a distance, I share the  
concerns about using relations to associate sidewalks with their  
streets. Would it work to add a tag "associated_street" and then  
simply list the name of the street? For example, highway=footway,  
associated_street="East Fowler Avenue". A value of "none" could be  
coded if the sidewalk does not parallel a street.

I hope there will be more discussion of these two proposals.

Ed Hillsman

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