OpenStreetMap

Today I finished fleshing out all the sidewalks and crosswalks (both marked and unmarked) in the Licton Springs neighborhood of Seattle! This includes details on curb ramps and tactile warnings (or lack thereof) at each crosswalk so that pedestrians that need one or the other to get around can more easily plan a walking route using OpenStreetMap.

Although a lot of Seattle’s neighborhoods don’t have very well-defined borders I believe the ones for Licton Springs are fairly consistent across maps that I’ve seen:

  • North border: Northgate Way
  • East border: I-5
  • South border: N 85th St
  • West border: Aurora Ave

Now that I’m done, I determined that Licton Springs makes up about 1% of Seattle’s land area, so I consider this a pretty major win in the amount of pedestrian infrastructure mapped!

I took on the project of mapping all of the sidewalks and crosswalks in Licton Springs because I have been walking my dog around this neighborhood quite a bit and noticed that OSM didn’t have any of the sidewalks mapped in the neighborhood (though a few marked crosswalks had been). Particularly surprising was that none of the sidewalks along this section of Aurora Ave had been mapped! This is a pretty busy street that has a lot of foot traffic normally due to the density of businesses and the RapidRide E bus line running along it.

Though I have been mapping for a while now, this was certainly the largest task I had undertaken so far and was able to see it through from start to finish! I hope the Seattle OSM community can continue mapping more of the sidewalks and crosswalks around the city!

Location: Licton Springs, Maple Leaf, Seattle, King County, Washington, 98113, United States

Comment from pkoby on 14 July 2020 at 11:34

Looks great! I am working on mapping the same information in my city. I’m not mapping curb ramps right now, simply because it’s tough to collect that information from satellite imagery, and I don’t walk around too often. We have a couple of tagging differences (I don’t tag crossing=* on the crossing way, just the node), but I think it’s useful stuff.

If you want to continue the project, have you thought about adding surface=* to the sidewalks? Or tactile_paving=* to the kerb nodes?

Comment from Glassman on 14 July 2020 at 14:46

Nice - Below is a overpass query of the area. Having done sidewalk mapping I know how detailed the your accomplishment is. Keep it up.

http://overpass-turbo.eu/s/W4Z

Best, Clifford

Comment from VigilantPenguin on 14 July 2020 at 19:36

Thanks pkoby, I also found it difficult to map curb ramps using aerial imagery, but luckily I was able to consult the City of Seattle’s dataset of curb ramp & sidewalk conditions (luckily the city has granted permission to OSM to use their data) as well as Mapillary street level imagery for streets I hadn’t visited in-person. Understandably sources like these may not exist for every city, but I’m thankful I was able to use them in my case!

Thanks Glassman, I should have used overpass-turbo to validate my work but that query allowed me to find a few spots I had missed some details on. Now Licton Springs is really done!

Comment from Glassman on 14 July 2020 at 19:52

I wrote a blog post on editing sidewalks. I included how to use QGIS to look for islands. Islands are those sidewalks that don’t connect to other sidewalks. It’s another way to look for missing connections. In fact I just discovered one just a few blocks from home.

BTW - another good imagery source is Bing. Their Streetside imagery is freely useable in OSM. I’m in Skagit County and found the imagery to be dated. So I also drive around to capture Mapillary and OpenStreetCam imagery.


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