[Tagging] Is a sidewalk always adjacent to a traversable road?

Josh Doe josh at joshdoe.com
Mon Aug 29 18:52:11 BST 2011

On Sat, Aug 27, 2011 at 10:31 PM, Nathan Edgars II <neroute2 at gmail.com> wrote:
> Getting this whole thread out of the black hole it's gone into: was it the
> intention of those creating the footway=sidewalk and sidewalk=* tags that:

I was one of the people that worked on the footway=sidewalk proposal,
so I should probably give my 2 cents.

> *They be consistent with each other: if a footway would be tagged as a
> sidewalk, then the parallel highway would have a sidewalk tag (at least if
> the footway is not separately mapped) and vice versa?

Yes, I believe they should be totally compatible, and follow the same
standards. The only difference is one is easier and the other is more
robust. Do note that there is some discussion that once a sidewalk has
been mapped separately, the road should be tagged with something like
sidewalk=separate to indicate there is a sidewalk, but it is mapped
using a separate way tagged highway=footway + footway=sidewalk. For
more discussion of this please comment on one of the wiki pages or
start a separate thread. :)

> *They include or not include informal desire lines created by walking on the
> grass strip on the side of the road?

I would tend to say they do not include worn paths along grassy
strips, however I don't think I'd want to make this part of the
definition of a sidewalk in OSM terms, rather it should vary by
region. For my region, these worn paths are very rare, and so I would
rather map them separately as highway=footway (no footway=sidewalk),
or highway=path. However I can imagine paved sidewalks are very rare
in some countries, and therefore worn grassy paths are very common,
and *might* be considered as sidewalks.

However if we had to adopt an international standard for this, I'd
rather *not* count worn grassy strips as sidewalks.

> If there's no agreement on the latter, there's no point in using the
> sidewalk tags.

If we say that across the board about OSM tags, then there's no point
in using a great deal of them. :) However I'm all for finding


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