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It's not uncommon in St. Louis, MO for the city to vacate the public surface rights of a city street and grant use to a private organization. One such example can be seen at Indiana Ave between Potomac and Miami:

A fence now stands at both ends of the block. I could simply mark these streets "private," but, while a street nominally still exists at this location, there's no longer actually any type of traffic on it (private or otherwise). In addition, the organization that's been given use is now free to do whatever they want with it. There are many other instances in the city where the street is turned into green space or has a structure erected upon it. In any case, it's unlikely that this will ever again be a part of the street grid.

Should I remove these altogether? Tag them as private? Any other ideas? I recently tagged a group of such streets at another site as access=no but I wanted to check for some consensus before I move forward with any others. You can see those changes here:

For the curious, here is the board bill that vacated the street in my first example (PDF):

I wonder, tangentially, if any of you have seen this sort of thing in other cities. I imagine it must be common in other places that have seen similar population losses.

asked 13 Jun '16, 19:12

lwburk's gravatar image

accept rate: 0%


It really depends on the specific situation. Is it still possible to use this street, e.g. by employers, emergency vehicles, mail service, garbage collection etc.? If not, is it still allowed to walk or cycle along the street?

(17 Jun '16, 09:18) scai ♦

Yeah, that's a good point. In almost all of these cases the street turns into a private way for employees of the organization that petitioned for the closure. There are other cases, too, but that's the most common situation.

(17 Jun '16, 18:16) lwburk

If it still physically looks like a street but public access is not allowed, I'd mark it access=no or access=private. I assume to keep the public out some sort of barrier like a fence or gate has been installed at either end which should be added.

If it no longer looks like a street, maybe the pavement has been removed and gardens or some other linear feature has been built, then I'd remove the OSM way and then map what has replaced it.

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answered 13 Jun '16, 23:11

n76's gravatar image

accept rate: 17%

@stf: but if it IS (use and look) not a street (for anybody), like lwburk tells, why tag it as street?

(13 Jun '16, 23:25) aseerel4c26 ♦

Your favorite satellite view will show that (in this particular case) the pavement still exists. There is no general case. Sometimes the old street remains; sometimes it doesn't. There is a closure before the board right now that would replace a downtown block with a dog park and some parking spaces. So I assume that the context matters.

(14 Jun '16, 00:39) lwburk

Many of these are to close the street grid off to the public in industrial centers. In those cases the roads remain very much in use, but only for employees of those businesses. But they close for many other reasons. Declining cities appear almost desperate in their attempts to appease the remaining organizations, often at the cost of the public good.

(14 Jun '16, 00:41) lwburk

A road in an industrial center that's in use only for employees sounds like "highway=service" + "access=private".

(17 Jun '16, 08:19) Carnildo

Depending on how the road is used now, I would go for disused:highway=residential + highway=footway (or something, maybe highway=service). I guess an additional access=private + foot=permissive would be reasonable here. Do NOT use access=no since you easily forget people who are still allowed to use it. And map the fence barriers (with accompanying) access tags.

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answered 13 Jun '16, 23:25

aseerel4c26's gravatar image

aseerel4c26 ♦
accept rate: 18%

edited 14 Jun '16, 06:25

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question asked: 13 Jun '16, 19:12

question was seen: 3,425 times

last updated: 17 Jun '16, 18:16

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