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What is the best way to deal with pedestrian bridges that have been permanently closed?

I've encountered several of these while using OSM to plan bike rides. They show up as bridges on the map, but when I get there, it's clear that they've been closed for years. For example, I know that the 8th Avenue pedestrian bridge over Interstate 10 (visible here) is blocked by gates that are essentially permanent, so I added gates to both ends of the bridge and tagged it as access=no.

I assume this will prevent routing over the bridge, but it's not the most useful for humans. The 4th Avenue pedestrian bridge, visible just to the East, is open, but a user might not notice the difference between the closed and unclosed bridges because the default OSM cartography for both is rather similar.

Is it better to just delete the bridge and hope that nobody naively re-creates it based on the aerial imagery?

asked 08 Nov '12, 18:55

nathansnider's gravatar image

accept rate: 0%


If you find the rendering style of a particular object or attribute or a combination of both to be unsuited you can also report it here, ideally with a suggestion on how to improve it.

(09 Nov '12, 12:33) scai ♦

If it's there, you should map it. Other maps may show it more clearly: if the Standard OSM style is too ambiguous, then you can file a trac ticket requesting a change. You can log in to trac with your usual OSM username and password.

Of course, the real answer is to lobby your local highway authority to reopen the bridge and improve pedestrian permeability in your city. ;)

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answered 08 Nov '12, 19:25

Richard's gravatar image

Richard ♦
accept rate: 18%

edited 08 Nov '12, 19:26


One reason for mapping it: Even a closed bridge may still serve as a navigation aid.

(08 Nov '12, 21:24) Frederik Ramm ♦

Perhaps an acceptable compromise within the existing cartographic standards is to mark the path as a generic highway=path with access=no, as I've done here. Symbolized this way, the path is still shown, but the appearance is distinct enough from a functional pedestrian bridge that a user browsing the map is unlikely to take away the mistaken impression that it's accessible.

Hopefully, describing it as a generic path is accurate enough. Even though it was designed to accommodate pedestrians, it's currently off-limits to everybody, so not really a footpath in its present state.

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answered 09 Nov '12, 01:37

nathansnider's gravatar image

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edited 09 Nov '12, 01:48


If there's no usable path, couldn't a man_made= tag be considered?

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answered 09 Nov '12, 17:29

Circeus's gravatar image

accept rate: 7%

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question asked: 08 Nov '12, 18:55

question was seen: 4,350 times

last updated: 09 Nov '12, 17:29

NOTICE: is no longer in use from 1st March 2024. Please use the OpenStreetMap Community Forum