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Proposal for sidewalk tagging

Mapping as a separate way

When the sidewalk is on its own, i.e. is a structure separated from the main street, it should be mapped separately as highway=footway.

Rationale for this is: with the ever-growing precision of GPS units, and the need of particular users when routing (e.g. blind people), a more precise mapping is needed when possible. In particular, for blind people, it's important to have precise information when walking: to understand on which side of the street they are, for example. This is not possible when just adding tags to the main way (see below) -- a separate way ought to be mapped.

Main tags

These tags must be used:

When a highway=crossing is present on the street, a way should be mapped, connecting the two sidewalks. This way should be tagged as follows:

Additionally, if the crossing is also for bicycles, cycleway=crossing should be added.

When no crossing is marked, but it's common to cross the street at that point, crossing=unmarked should be used at the intersection between the sidewalk and the street. Most of the times this should be used on minor, low-traffic roads.

If, before the footway=crossing, there are ramps going down/up, please mark them as nodes and ramp=yes (the other values for ramp=* don't have much sense or added value when dealing with sidewalks).

Additional subtags


The highway=footway should be included in a type=street relation (see proposal) together with the main street, with role sidewalk.

Tagging the main way (DEPRECATED)

When the sidewalk is just a painted lane on the street, it's possible to attach tags to the main way.

Main tags

This tag is compulsory:

  • sidewalk=side, where side is one of (depending on the direction of the way): left, right, both.

Additional tags

Tag Applies to Description
sidewalk:side:barrier=* Way Describes whether the sidewalk is physically segregated from the street, and how.

Not every value described in barrier=* is suitable. Accepted values are: hedge, fence, wall, bollard, block, chain. As you can see, this is a subset of barrier=*: if you need one of the others, you'd better tag the sidewalk as a separate way.
In addition, some common sense is needed for hedge, fence and wall. If they're large or high enough to make it very difficult to pass them, or to constitute a separate way, than it should be mapped as a separate way.

sidewalk:side:barrier=* Node When tagged as a node, this tag means something a barrier transversal to the sidewalk, rather than alongside the street.

Every value described as a node barrier in barrier=* is suitable.

sidewalk:side:incline=* Way
sidewalk:side:smoothness=* Way
sidewalk:side:tactile_paving=* Way
sidewalk:side:wheelchair=* Way


Way Width / Estimated width of the sidewalk lane.

Also see