[Tagging] Feature Proposal - RFC - footway=link

Nick Bolten nbolten at gmail.com
Sat Nov 23 01:35:15 UTC 2019

I'm a big fan of this proposal and like others I think it could be useful
in many scenarios. Expansion beyond connecting sidewalks to streets would
be great!

I would propose that under an expansive definition it be thought of this
way: a "footway link" is a path connecting pedestrian-accessible ways that
is not, itself, a centerline of a designated physical pedestrian space.


1. Connecting a dead-end sidewalk to the street (already in the proposal):
real pedestrians may want to walk on a sidewalk that only extends partially
down a street, then revert back to walking on the side of a street. A
footway link acknowledges this transition and maintains network

2. Connecting orthogonal footways to the street, even when there's no
designated footway (the steps example): Similar to the first example,
pedestrians may want to fall back on the street network after transitioning
from steps, or we may want to maintain connectivity for routing software
that makes primary use of streets without having "fake" pedestrian ways
connected to the street: steps connecting directly to a street across a
sidewalk, a footway from a park doing the same, etc.

3. Transitioning from a sidewalk to a crossing, where both are separately
mapped: we've often run into the challenge of saying 'what is this thing?'
when mapping highway=footway, footway=crossing, highway=footway,
footway=sidewalk, and kerb=* to describe pedestrian spaces. It's that short
path that extends from the sidewalk to the street. It isn't really a
sidewalk, even though it's on top of one. It isn't really a crossing,
because you're still on the sidewalk at that point. It's a link between
footways! This would be helpful for QA and increased mapping: when a
footway=link meets a footway=crossing, we can ask for mappers to add kerb=*
using software like StreetComplete.

4. Plazas. While it is possible to extract many plausible paths through
pedestrian area features, there is value in simply mapping the most direct
paths and not requiring data consumers to become intimately familiar with
skeletonization algorithms or robotics pathfinding. Mapping canonical paths
through plazas as links allows both options: they can be ignored (as they
are acknowledged to be connections rather than distinct paths) or consumed

5. Short paths to building entrances from sidewalks, other footways. These
are often not truly a designated footway, just a path from the sidewalk
centerline to the building's entrance, but they can still be complicated:
they might have steps along them, or have a unique geometry due to fencing
or walls. A link will assist in mapping this accessibility information and
remove confusing data from the map.

6. Short paths that deviate slightly from centerlines to make use of
facilities, but are still related to those other footways. For example,
there may be a single clear way to navigate from a sidewalk centerline to a
bus stop that is not the canonical sidewalk centerline. It's a path on the
sidewalk that could be worth describing (for example, street furniture may
cause it to have a narrow passable width), but it's not itself the primary
sidewalk way.

Thanks for proposing this! It really scratches an itch.


On Mon, Nov 18, 2019 at 1:25 PM Markus <selfishseahorse at gmail.com> wrote:

> Hello everyone
> As the discussion has moved from pedestrian lanes to linking ending
> sidewalks with a road and as there haven't been any more changes or
> suggestions to the proposal on pedestrian lanes, i'm opening the vote
> on that proposal and requesting comments on the proposal on
> footway=link:
> https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Proposed_features/Tag:footway%3Dlink
> Definition: to link steps or a sidewalk with a road
> Best regards
> Markus
> _______________________________________________
> Tagging mailing list
> Tagging at openstreetmap.org
> https://lists.openstreetmap.org/listinfo/tagging
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