Sidewalk Visibility?

I tried putting sidewalk in as a tag to a road, and I notice it doesn’t show up visibly beside the road as, say, a separately-created footpath would with its dots. Is there some entry needs to be made to make a sidewalk tag visible, as this would be the easiest way to make road-side walks, or if not, it would seem to me this is a bit of a shortcoming to the tag, since the purpose would be for viewers to see its existence?
Many thanks,

If you want to see the sidewalks rendered, you need to use a map renderer that shows them. should do this, although it seems to be down at the moment.

The standard rendering cannot possibly represent everything in the map (i.e. the database) without becoming too cluttered to be usable.

Please do not map sidewalks a separate, unless there is a physical barrier between them and the carriageway, in which case, preferably, also map the barrier.

Thanks. But then it means I suspect there’s a very much reduced point in putting sidewalks in at all, because I suspect (correct me if I’m wrong) most people will use the standard or a fixed renderer (eg a car one which they’ll at times view for walking). To illustrate the point, if I broadcast a location to people, which I often do, I don’t know what method individuals will be using to get there, so when I send them a fixed link, the link needs to cover the different bases at some level. The result is in effect that without the sidewalks OSM becomes vehicle-orientated. If there were a simple symbol or two on the web page people could click rather like Google has (eg a walking man to get a walker’s map, where sidewalks are portrayed) it might be a different outcome. I would however suggest it would be little extra to render sidewalks - when rendering the edges of a road, just render distant red dots flush with the edges - but it would make an enormous difference in quality…

My view is that you are welcome to map all the footways next to roads in your area.
I think it is different in bigger cities where near all suburban streets have a sidewalk, especially in English cities, and in these places a sidewalk tag is fine.
In most outer suburban areas and all country towns where I live a path next to the road way is not so common, so it is best to mark the few roads that have them, whether there is a barrier or not between it and the road, to help people with disability scooters, prams, elderly people, shopping trolleys, etc, and I think that should be visible on the standard map for all users.
I also think that for footways that are like an English sidewalk, there is no harm in tagging such ways with both the sidewalk tag and footway tag.

I don’t have numbers, but It seems most people use OSM data through some application (e.g. navigators), and are not using the map on the OSM website, so each application shows what is useful for their use case.

Definitely agree with muralito re “most people use OSM data through e.g. navigators” (and often don’t know they’re using it)!

I don’t know where in the world you are, but a map layer I maintain for the UK and Ireland also shows sidewalks and verges .

Thanks everyone.
My experience is with #4, as I live in a small village, where knowing a road has paths is important. An old lady I met the other day had to turn back home from an event she had got a ticket for because she couldn’t be sure of what paths lay ahead to get there and whether she would have to cross any roads and under what conditions. The existing map didn’t help.
In regards to navigators, that may be a valid point; I wonder how many are using free ones, which may only update occasionally in contrast to a well-updated web portal.
The looks an improved representation, which I might use in future for links (many thanks!). One of the very nice features of is that as you move the map, the URL changes and therefore is easy for people to bookmark (which is a suggestion). I notice on atownsend sidewalks are shown as broad margins (I would have anticipated dots similar to a footpath but I’m pleased they’re showing!!) however I notice a road with sidewalk=right is depicted with margins on both sides rather than just the one side. Knowing which side the walk is on is important if you are elderly. For example, the lady I mention would have had difficulty crossing at one point just in sight where the pavement swaps sides at a tight obscured curve (into the inner of the curve), and had she done so with my help on the way home she would have had no chance crossing back…
Cheers very much,

(I should show you this crossing of a busy road the old lady would need to face, I hope this comes out -)

The rendered maps at are not designed as end user maps. They are there as aids to mappers to give a context for mapping other objects. OSM doesn’t have the resources to provide free end user maps to the whole world.

The problems with detached sidewalks are that routers will, typically, only allow you to cross the road at explicit crossings, and the mapping gets very messy at junctions, and particularly at the transition between detached sidewalks and un-mapped or integral sidewalks.

“Footway” is confusing in OSM, because, legally, a British English footway is an American English "sidewalk, but OSM uses “footway” when it really means “footpath”, which is not legally, a “sidewalk”. In England, it is illegal to cycle on footways, but the legal position for footpaths is less clear. OSM chose to use the US English terms.

The ITO World sidewalk map is back online.

The ITO World map is down