Talk:Proposed features/Sidewalk

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Since in citys most Streets have Sidewalks and outside usualy not (at least in Germany), I would like a way to set a default depending where the street is. If this is not possible, then at least highway=residential should have the default sidewalk=both further defaults: highway=motorway -> sidwalk=none. foot=yes,private,permissive,destination -> sidwalk=both foot=no -> sidwalk=none.

Oh, don't complicate mapping rules! Just suppose no sidewalk if no tag specified, it is better than see missing sidewalks on the map. --Vovanium 19:46, 7 August 2009 (UTC)
Default sidewalk=both for highway=residential and default sidewalk=none for highway=motorway look great to me, as is the possibility of tagging sidewalk=none or sidewalk=right or sidewalk=left. Tagging the absence of sidewalk is essential for routing applications such as wheelchair routing. --Liotier 10:50, 9 December 2009 (UTC)
  • sidewalk and cycleway should get a similar syntax, the possibility of sidewalk=right or left would be good for cycleway to.

What about streets where you can walk on the street, should they be marked in some way besides foot=yes sidewalk=no --DimitriJunker 11:57, 5 January 2008 (UTC)

    • i would tagg these ways with "highway=pedestrian", but thats a very personal view --Cbm 16:38, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
    • highway=pedestrian is the recommended tag for those cases --Liotier 10:50, 9 December 2009 (UTC)
  • maybe we can update the cycleway=lane as well. e.g. highway=primary cycleway:right=lane footway=both --Cbm 14:00, 5 January 2008 (UTC)

I personally see no need for these tags. What is the advantage? As a pedestrian I'm allowed to go everywhere, except motorways and some others. For all the rest of the streets (if not marked with foot=no) one can assume that he can walk that way, either on a sidewalk or in the street. Toralf 16:59, 5 January 2008 (UTC)

practicality. there are plenty of streets i can think of, where there is no path, i can walk legally, but i would not - it's too dangerous. this info would be useful to know. Myfanwy 04:27, 12 January 2008 (UTC)
I agree. I think we can suppose pedestrians can walk anywhere. If it's dangerous then rather add something like foot_dangerous=yes. --Jttt 09:12, 2 May 2008 (UTC)
What about wheelchair users? Should we worry about their travel routes? Let them discover the safe ones on their own? Assume that they never travel to areas unfamiliar to them where they might need GPS based wheelchair routing? On the other hand, I know a wheelchair user who doesn't hesitate to use the road when there is no sidewalk. RussNelson 00:04, 3 November 2008 (UTC)
Most definitively we should aim to map (eventually) with enough details for wheelchair users; electric chairs and otherwise fit wheelchair users are and can be encouraged to be active and able to wander around in unknown locations, where it is reasonably safe to do so. Alv 13:18, 9 December 2009 (UTC)
This is the same debate as wether illegal ways should be represented as passable. I believe that we must inform the user and then let him decide what he wants to do. If there is no sidewalk, he can still want to walk on the street : we inform him that there is no sidewalk and he can make an informed decision --Liotier 10:50, 9 December 2009 (UTC)

I think it is very useful to know if there is a safe place for a pedestrian to walk or if they have to walk on the street. But I would like to see more details about the side walk. Is it raised? How wide is it? What type of surface does it have? Those things are also very important for wheelchair users and other handicapped people. --Ckruetze 20:55, 7 January 2008 (UTC)

  • i wouldn't call it sidewalks, but footway in general. So we are more flexible (se my example a few comments above). But I totally agree with that we need of such a tag. --Cbm 14:10, 12 January 2008 (UTC)
  • i agree with cbm, footway would be much better, to tie in with other paths - consistency is desirable, let's not come up with *another* way of designating footpaths. sidewalk is far too americanised Myfanwy 02:57, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
  • "sidewalk" is the name for a particular kind of footway which runs a consistent distance from the edge of the associated roadway. Clearly this simplifies renderering; it useful; and is not americanized. RussNelson 00:04, 3 November 2008 (UTC)
  • If we don't have sidewalk, then we have to map ways parallel to most of the residential highways in Europe and the USA. The sidewalk is an attribute of the way. It simplifies mapping and rendering, and it is also the logical way to model. --Liotier 10:50, 9 December 2009 (UTC)
  • I'm quite sure that in the end most of the highways in Europe and Usa will have a parallel way(s) with highway=footway (or cycleway). The local governmental agency around here, the one that has been developing and has developed a routing service for pedestrians and cyclists (first they did public transport...), has taken the stance that representing the sidewalks as attributes on the roads is not descriptive enough; they tried to use the database that has them as attributes of the roads they follow, but it has too much shortcomings. The tagging gets too complex to manage with all different variations of normal or sloped curbs, narrow/wide green patches and the (legal) possibilities for crossing the streets, be it on a bicycle, on foot or with a wheelchair, when the directions need to be precise enough about the route to take across and around each intersection. When drawing the sidewalks as separate ways, users can just draw each way "here can walk, here be curbstone" and then be done with it. When They already do have the sidewalks drawn as separate ways (areas, actually) in their main map data database, why wouldn't we, too? Alv 13:18, 9 December 2009 (UTC)

footway=* is rendered bei Cobra-Renderer, yet :) --Cbm 00:40, 16 August 2008 (UTC)

  • Good alternative --Vovanium 19:46, 7 August 2009 (UTC)
  • I suggest we merge this with the Proposed feature footway=* (using the term footway). Wikipedia states that "footway" is the engineering term whereas "sidewalk," "pavement," "footpath," and "platform" are all local terms. See When it's time to vote, I'm all for the concept so that we can render the difference between roads with accessible footways to the side of the road and roadways in which the disabled must roll over bumps in the dirt or fight with motor vehicles for the use of the main travel lanes. --Dygituljunky 07:24, 11 September 2009 (UTC)

Sidewalk Traffic Rules

I think that the sidewalk tag needs some way to indicate what kind of traffic is allowed on the sidewalk. Is the sidewalk only foot, is it for both bike and foot, does the sidewalk have two lanes, one for foot and other for bike? And also, when you can cycle on the right side of the way but not on the left. Maybe cycleway=lane would be sufficient for traffic indicating but I think that a lane on the road should be tagged differently from when you can cycle on a raised sidewalk. Maybe something like this (tags just quickly made up, could be better): sidewalk:left=foot sidewalk:both=foot_bicycle sidewalk:right=foot_bicycle_segregated, and so on --Galactic 14:55, 5 September 2008 (UTC)

  • We need this tag. I think it is a good idea to keep it seperate from cycleway. In some countries it is allowed for everyone to use the sidewalk with bicycle so it is enough to say that there is somehwere left/right/both a sidewalk (or whatever you want to call it...). If you're in a country where you need a special cycleway it is good to use the cycleway tag. And joining this two tags would end in a too complicated tag... bicycle_foot_both_separated, bicycle_left_foot_left_right or something... see proposed and confusing lane properties tags FfTtTTTbB -- The blanz 14:54, 23 October 2008 (UTC)
  • Isn't this an attribute of the law of the realm rather than the individual sidewalk? In particular, New York State prohibits bicycles from riding on the sidewalk. RussNelson 00:04, 3 November 2008 (UTC)

Editors who have used this proposed feature

  • Way 38321271 and nearby. --Ceyockey 11:52, 31 July 2009 (UTC)
    The values 'left' and 'right' are ambiguous. I have opted for 'one_side' until an unambiguous "sidage" solution floats up. --Ceyockey 11:52, 31 July 2009 (UTC)
    As any way has direction, there's no ambiguity. Say when you walk in way's direction right will be at right and left will be at t your left side. --Vovanium 19:46, 7 August 2009 (UTC)

Default values

sidewalk tag is good, but perhaps we have to put default values in function of the type of highway: for example in highway=residential, I would like to have sidewalk=both by default. In some highway=residentials, we have only one side sidewalks. So manually, put sidewalk=left, ...

In highway=primary or secondary, we could have sidewalk too, but not frequently. So I propose that in highway different of residential, we have default value = none.

What do you think?

Regards,--Xan 20:37, 6 May 2010 (UTC)Xan.

There's too much variation globally and even within any single country (think rural and urban roads), that a default value would be a false guess for a very big proportion of roads, no matter what default you choose. It's only likely that a residential road inside a bigger place (near a place=town/city) has sidewalks on boths sides, but I wouldn't call it default even there (and how to define that in a way easily parseable by tools/database systems). Alv 08:34, 7 May 2010 (UTC)
Yes, but it's really simple: in landuse=resisential and highway=residential the default is both. You could also define the default depending on the countries. In Spain, this default is good (almost all residential highways has sidewalks in both sides). But I understand that technically it could be difficult to implement.... --Xan 11:50, 9 May 2010 (UTC)
There is no such pattern in the U.S. It can change within cities and neighborhoods. Jumbanho 16:40, 25 June 2010 (UTC)
Okay. So not. But is there a possibility to "add" a sidewalk to the street, instead of drawing new one. Something like sidewalk={both,right,left} tagging the street?


  • this shows a street with sidewalk and that a street without sidewalk at both sides (or at least impracticable)

Separate lanes or tags on the way

Currently this proposal is suggesting a kind of cycleway=track for sidewalks. This works up to some extend, but is not suitable to indicate more then whether there is a sidewalk (and on which side) or not. The main purpose of detailing sidewalks is IMHO to be able to add further details, which might be interesting for the users of the sidewalk. This could be obstacles (barrier) or narrow stretches of the sidewalk, where for instance a wheelchair could not pass. Or it could be details about the sidewalk itself (surface), or details to enhance the rendering (e.g. in higher zoom levels). It could also be a means to indicate the position of lowered kerbs, separations between the sidewalk and the road, etc. All of these details are not possible to enter following this proposal. As soon as you tried to enter more detail (using complicated tags like sidewalk:width:right=0.7m) you will have to split the street-highway even if it is not concerned itself, because of surface changes or width changes on one of the sidewalks. This will on the long run result in very complicated/intransparent structures and many short pieces for the road. Obstacles on the sidewalk will be almost impossible to enter on implicit sidewalks. -- Dieterdreist 17:06, 21 March 2011 (UTC)

Old news?

What about Proposed features/Advanced footway and cycleway? --Zverik 17:47, 21 March 2011 (UTC)

Yes, see also --Fabi2 22:09, 21 March 2011 (UTC)

Would a combined cycleway and footway on the right side then be tagged as e.g. highway:right:cycleway:bicycle=designated?

How would you tag the other properties of the sidewalk, such as a bollard or the positions where the kerb is lowered and its height? --Fabi2 19:52, 23 March 2011 (UTC)

Don't we need two different things?

I think that in the most common cases, it is sufficient to tag the sidewalks as part of the highway, according to the Advanced footway and cycleway proposal. It will work in normal residental or industrial areas, as well as in most rural places. So I don't see a reason for this sidewalk proposal.

In the crowded areas of cities, this is often not sufficient for pedestrian and in particular wheelchair routing. Pedestrian access to highways is restricted, there are frequent changes of sidewalk/sideway properties. For these, I think that it's a good idea to map the footways separately.

Overall, I think that the Advanced footway and cycleway proposal and a proposal for separate ways are both needed, but this one is not. --Marl 09:51, 9 April 2011 (BST)

Many users don't see the need of many features here. Nevertheless as long as anybody understands the need for tagging sidewalks separately with own attributes, you will not stop it. I don't understand the need for tagging objects other than diving spaces in the sea, but I don't care if anybody wants to map them. Why do you interfere? --Lulu-Ann 13:17, 15 April 2011 (BST)
I don't want anybody stop from tagging sidewalks in the precision they like. On the contrary - I want to encourage both. The small solution Advanced footway and cycleway that fits for most cases and the big solution (separate ways) for places where the small one is not sufficient. In particular for disabled routing you sometimes need a precision that can only be met by using separate ways. What I do not support is a second variant of the small solution (which I understood is discussed here). --Marl 20:12, 17 April 2011 (BST)

Sidewalk summary

I've created a Sidewalk article, which summarizes and links to this and other sidewalk related proposals. I've tried to be unbiased, by detailing the advantages and disadvantages of each method, but please feel free to correct any biases you see. -- Joshdoe 16:26, 19 April 2011 (BST)

See sidewalk=* instead. --Rudolf 07:50, 20 July 2012 (BST)