[Tagging] Linear bike-share stations

Nate Wessel bike756 at gmail.com
Tue Mar 19 01:03:43 UTC 2019

Dear tagging list,

I'd like to see if I can gather some consensus around allowing 
bike-share stations (amenity=bicycle_rental) to be tagged as linear 
features as well as points and polygons. There has been some related 
discussion already on this topic both on the amenity=bicycle_rental 
discussion page 
and in the issues for the openstreetmap carto 
<https://github.com/gravitystorm/openstreetmap-carto/issues/2711> style 

Currently a linear mapping is not supported by the standard OSM map 
style, or the JOSM validation tools which issue a warning about ways not 
being closed.

My case for linear mapping is as follows:

1) Many stations are very long and skinny, essentially running parallel 
to other linear features like sidewalks. Some stations can be upwards of 
20 or 30 meters in length and no wider than a couple feet (if empty) or 
the length of a bicycle (if full).

2) Linear mapping is already allowed for bicycle parking and benches, 
other street furniture amenities with similar dispositions.

3) Bike share stations typically have two sides (like a line, unlike a 
polygon) with either one or both sides accepting bikes. Which way this 
faces is a relevant fact and could easily tagged like entry=left or 
something of that sort.

4) Kiosk locations seem relevant, especially for very long stations. 
None of these are mapped yet as far as I know but it seems like these 
would be best mapped as a node on a way rather than as a node inside a 

The case against as I see it is:

1) These can already be tagged as long polygons.

2) A linear mapping is not as well supported by current software.

Perhaps the bigger question here is: the vast majority of stations are 
currently mapped as nodes. If these were to get expanded, with more 
added detail/accuracy would we do better to move toward polygons or 
lines or both?


Nate Wessel
Jack of all trades, Master of Geography, PhD candidate in Urban Planning
NateWessel.com <http://natewessel.com>

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