[OSM-talk] Mozambique's living streets

Tobias Zwick osm at westnordost.de
Sun Dec 11 10:55:22 UTC 2016

> from minor ones... Some bright spark took initiative by tagging a large
> part of Dakar's residential streets as highway=service - that has been
> universally perceived as a very bad idea.
Well, there is this line in the wiki for highway=service and service=alley:

"In some medieval European settlements alleys may be the very narrow
streets which run in-between buildings, providing public through-access.
" ( http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Tag:service%3Dalley )

These kinds of streets are not only common in old town centers in Europe
but can be found in any place in the world that hadn't been built with
cars in mind, in shanty towns and also in modern (non-shanty) towns -
especially in Asia.

Now, the alley tag mentioned is problematic because there is no clear
definition what may still count as an alley and what should be a
residential road already.

Actually I raised the same issue 3 years ago in the forum
https://forum.openstreetmap.org/viewtopic.php?id=21942 (with links to
example imagery).
The outcome, more or less was:
* do not use living_street for non-living-streets
* use path/footway for anything that does not fit a car anymore (i.e.
only a motorcycle/rickshaw)
* use highway=service + service=alley for residential alleys that barely
fit a car if convenient
* otherwise residential for everything else, use width/lanes to give a
hint how wide it is

(Not saying that I am absolutely content about it, it is still ambiguous)

The existence of these discussions about how to tag really small
residential roads popping up and the living_street tagging being popular
where there is no such (legal) thing as a living street again and again
is a sign that there is an unalleviated uncertainty and thus room for
conflict and disagreement about this, since it is not clearly defined.

Now, talking about this is good. But can we solve and clear this up here
in the interest of all mappers and correct the ambiguities in the wiki
definition once and for all?

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