Sidewalks and Plazas

We have a lot of paved pedestrian spaces here on our campus and I have begun to incorporate them using the highway=pedestrian and area=yes tags. I’m curious how sidewalks that enter or leave a plaza interact with it. Do they just run to the edge of the plaza or continue across it to either terminate at a building or continue on another side? Thanks.

It depends… Basically, sidewalks or footways could run to the edge of the plaza and that’s it. But … if you run some routine engines, they usually don’t understand the “area=yes” polygon, they are not able to connect all entries and fail at the edge of the plaza/area. That’s why many people just map a “highway=footway” (or “highway=pedestrian”) across the plaza even though it is a bit “mapping for the routing application” which is not something we recommend in general in OSM (the software should be able to connect all possible ways within the area but that needs some coding efforts).

Oh, so using the area=yes polygon can just create a potential that pedestrian routing instructions may not work for an end-user? Well, that’s probably ok since we aren’t worrying about creating walking directions only driving. But I may extend them over the areas any way because of the potential to create wheelchair accessible routes in the future.

In both cases (footways end/start at the area vs. footways are continued over the area)
make sure that the footways are connected to the area in order to avoid routing-breaks.