Safe pedestrian access is not a static attribute. How should Niantic handle that?
There is an ongoing discussion in the Wayfarer forum about a particular instance of a portal move that, while technically correct, may have been done for link-dropping purposes. I posted something in that thread and then realized that it belonged here rather than in that thread. I'm reposting it here with minor edits to remove things specific to that instnace.
There's a meta issue here that I think is becoming a larger one as the games age: Safe pedestrian access is not a permanent state, but Niantic generally treats it as a one-time snapshot. Sometimes things that were safely accessible when they were submitted later lose that attribute. I believe that Niantic needs polices for and a mechanism by which these wayspots can be identified and handled. How is safe access defined temporally? If something is inaccessible for three months is it still considered accessible? Six months? One year? Two? If it's closed indefinitely? I will admit that this is a thorny problem and within Ingress it can be the source of significant drama. I'm interested in approaching the issue from a systemic perspective rather than focusing on any particular instance of it.
I've seen this happen in urban areas when a property is razed and a new one is built. This can lead to a multi-year period of wayspots on the construction site having no safe access, and the objects may or may not exist when the site is reopened. I've seen this when facilities close their doors permanently. It's happened quite frequently in the western US in the past few years due to forest fires and other natural disasters.
What happens in these situations? What should happen? In the cases where wayspots have strategic value is it reasonable for one faction to control portals so durable that there is literally no safe pedestrian access? If so, what is a reasonable length of time for this to continue? If not, how should the cases be handled? Can such locations can be identified and handled algorithmically? I posited a mechanism for this in another recent discussion but noted that my test could be easily defeated by spoofers and thus was useless.
I believe this is a hard problem, and that there are no clear answers. I also believe that it is a faction-neutral issue, although specific instances of it are absolutely factional.
 Perhaps some construction workers could access them, but I would argue that distractions on a construction site may not be considered safe.