@Gendgi Can you think of an open-to-the-public gas pump that you can't safely walk up and touch? It would be impossible to use the pump if you couldn't do that. (I'm not arguing that gas pumps are legitimate submissions. I'm just using them as an example.)
The qualification is that the submission is safe to walk to. It is not required that the submission safe for a group of people to cluster around mashing buttons wildly while not paying attention to their surroundings. I wouldn't encourage children to run around gas stations staring at their phones, but I also believe that people should exercise a degree of personal responsibility. I've certainly gone to or toward portals and then decided that the location was not currently safe for me to access, though at another time it would have been fine. Sure, people do stupid things sometimes but that doesn't mean that the location is inherently unsafe.
Look up from your phone when you are walking around, ensure that if you stop and stand somewhere you are in a safe place, that you're not obstructing vehicle or pedestrian traffic, that you are paying attention to your surroundings. If you have children that are playing games you should be responsible for oversight and for teaching them these things.
At the same time, I was not necessarily arguing that parking lots are safe places to play. My assertion was that a business that is accessed by walking through its parking lot to the front door fundamentally has safe pedestrian access. If you couldn't walk up to the door of the business they would quickly have a big "OUT OF BUSINESS" sign out front.
 I know of a mountain that has three helicopter search-and-rescue missions for Ingress. The mountain has also been safely climbed by plenty of Ingress players and many non-players. Is the mountain fundamentally unsafe? For a skilled climber who comes prepared? No. For someone who attempts to climb it during a severe heat alert without proper preparation? Not so safe.
@ElfFromSpace Niantic does many things very well. They miss the mark when it comes to centralizing information about rules.
Back in the days of G+ there were things that many players considered to be rules of Ingress, though they only time Niantic ever articulated an opinion was 50 comments deep into a contentious discussion on G+. Sometimes there were conflicting opinions in different comment threads. That created a ridiculous situation-- a new player who signed up for Ingress and read all of the rules, terms of service, agent protocol, and every other document on Niantic's site would believe that they understood the rules. The only people who would know about these obscurely-documented pseudo-rules were the people who obsessively took part in such discussions either first- or second-hand and those who learned about them from the people who happened to read 50 comments deep into those threads. It's a horrible situation for players, since there is an expectation that players will read the official rules, AMA questions and answers (and somehow manage to correctly sequence the cases where Niantic said A and then decided six months or a year later that A was no longer correct and that B was the new rule), community discussions, Facebook groups, and something that a Niantic guy said to two people at an anomaly one time.
Yes, it's a lot of information. However, Niantic could create a much more customer-friendly experience by ensuring that all of the information was fed back into a central location that could easily be consumed by customers. My gut tells me that 20% of one person's time would be enough to keep something like this up to date once it was created.
@Hosette why do you guys keep muting and baning people?
I agree, there should be a condensed bullet-point style list with the general guidelines with a link or expandable slider with expanded information for more specific situations.
@Podolsky88 I don't personally do that. The farthest I've gone is to remove one abusive comment.
That would be epic! Niantic just needs to hire some of us to make it. I'm sure they could find some trusted fans who would probably help do it for little to no $ just like how we do Wayfarer for free. But they'd have to be careful checking it to make sure it was all good after.
I think I made it a few hundred reviews in before I even knew AMAs existed. Thankfully, in most cases, they only rearticulate or offer further clarification rather than completely contradict guidelines. I've maintained that it was sloppy but somewhat understandable that the official guides were not updated for every AMA for years, however it is downright inexcusable that Niantic left so much off when Wayfarer went live to the general PoGO community - we've all seen how much that's done to help cross gaming relationships.
Your argument is well made, @Hosette, but still puts little comfort in believing that a parking lot specifically meant for cars is what was intended by "adventures on foot," especially when "safe pedestrian access" is harped on almost every page of the help sections.
There is also an excerpt from the Sponsored Gym "location guidelines."
Examples of Sponsored In-Game Locations that are not acceptable:
It may be that sponsored locations follow different rules than regular, but I doubt that is the case. In good faith, I cannot consider parking lots to "by definition" have safe pedestrian access for gaming on your phone.
Actually, yes. Parking lots are places designed to park your car and get out and WALK to *whatever* Since they are designed to be walked in, they are absolutely accessible. I have actually asked if we can address as well drop off areas. I've had some submissions such as fountains denied in places where there is a circle designed to drive up, drop people off, and then have those people WALK into whatever. I am glad the Niantic rep is having these dialogs so that we can try and seek clarification on wayspots that people are having trouble and confusion on. If facebook is a way to reach more people than google+ that is now gone that's fine. I do think it might be better if they did make an official group so that they could prevent community leaders from abusing their positions.
Not accessible would be if I park my car on the side of a highway, where if a police car sees me I will get questioned and told to stop being stupid and leave.
This is something I'd consider not safe pedestrian access. It's public art on the side of a freeway in Hollywood where pedestrians are not intended to be.
If you have to walk in a parking lot to get somewhere, you ARE intended to be walking there so it is safe. I know as a driver in a parking lot that there is a high probability people will be walking around.
It's a balancing act. Do I consider a sculpture in the center of a rarely driven on, drop off area at a college dorm, that has a paved area around it safe to stand and gather? See photo below. Yep! Is this the sort of submission that the current guidelines sometimes convince reviewers to deny based on the wording? Sadly. Yes, cars drive here, but they can't go at any sort of speed and there is so much pedestrian traffic in the area that it's more the norm, not the exception that the cars have to wait for students to move out of their way. Personally your native plant garden sounds like the sort of place that would be good to have as a wayspot. I feel that the guidelines miss something by asking for painted crossings because lots of areas have safe crossings that aren't painted.
That said there's a lot of common sense going into it. I wouldn't really want kids running around a parking lot without looking up. Not that the presence or lack of wayspots is going to be the only cause of this behavior. And there are few good wayspots IN parking lots. Generally they're on the edges of parking lots, and the point is that the lack of sidewalk does not mean you can't park, walk to the edge, and safely play there.
Similar to your image, there's a gazebo that is nearby to me literally in the middle of an intersection with no actual crosswalks. Drunken drivers have hit it several times. Obviously, it's intended to be used, and once at the gazebo there are rigid pylons that would keep you safe to loiter.
But that's the big thing - you can safely stand there and don't need to be alert to your surroundings. In any Niantic game, you need to be focused on your screen - whether trying to find that sweet Ultra Strike spot or watching during a PoGO raid. It is a visually demanding game and having Wayspots in an area that people are encouraged to interact with and loiter around can lead to it becoming unsafe.
I guess maybe that's the big problem I find with the parking lot discussion. Yes, obviously it is intended for pedestrian use, but not for loitering and game playing.
Perhaps the distinction that could help reviewers is... can you safely stand there? I don't want a wayspot in the middle of a parking lot either. But how many things are eligible that are truly in the middle of a parking lot? I do want a wayspot if there's an island in a parking lot that has room to stand. That's safe. The access means can you walk on sidewalks, parking lots, grass, (I'd argue for non-painted crosswalks such as when sidewalks lead up to the street on either side and are clearly cut to allow crossing) other safe areas to walk to get there. Once there can you safely stand somewhere and stare at your phone.
Also this brings me back to another thread talking about controlling where gyms land. I feel there is a different level of accessibility ideal for a gym than for a pokestop, wayspot. It's why I wish there were a better system to influence where the gyms land to prevent gyms in places that will cause issues. Most recent example was when I selected a local restaurant for a gym and NOT a bowling alley that just posted a bunch of signs saying their parking was for paying customers only! I try to be mindful of gym selection and even still there have been some unfortunate gyms made.
And.. have we gotten incredibly off-topic again?
I see that there are two different parking lot concepts being discussed here.
#1: A waypoint in a parking lot
#2: A waypoint that is accessible by walking through a parking lot to get to it
The last waypoint I got approved was precisely #1. It's a beautiful floral mural on the side of a building that is accessed via a small, low-traffic parking lot that has buildings on three sides. It is unquestionably safe to walk up to the mural. (photo below of the artwork in progress)
The second thing is the one that I have been frustrated by. I've seen quite a few people claim that a public business that does not have a sidewalk in front of it does not have safe pedestrian access, even though the business has a parking lot and you reach the front door of the business via the parking lot. I even saw someone claim that a shopping mall had no pedestrian access, and someone else claim that there was no safe pedestrian access to something because there wasn't enough room on the sidewalk for a large group to raid.
Arguing a business itself doesn't have safe pedestrian access would be like arguing North America itself doesn't have safe pedestrian access because it's in the middle of a body of water. That's not what I'm arguing nor ever what I said. I also never implied (or at least meant to imply) parking lots were not intended to be walked through.
I have claimed, and found one Niantic statement that supports my claim with nothing that directly contradicts my claim, that Wayspots in the middle of a parking lot do not offer Niantic standard of safe pedestrian access.
I could be incredibly persnickety and argue against safe pedestrian access on your mural; I don't think it's a 5* standard of safe access, but it wouldn't be 1* from me. (I will be pedantic enough to remind you that just because something is accepted doesn't necessarily make it eligible - again, not saying I would have rejected said mural personally, but using accepted Wayspots doesn't necessarily prove anything.)
I maintain something like a gas station pump or EV pump (if comparable) in the middle of a parking lot would not be safe game locations.
Your mall and sidewalk examples are laughable, but in the defence of said commenters, several places within the Help sections heavily imply requiring "areas in which groups can congregate and play comfortably." You typically don't need more than a few Agents congregating around a Portal, but it isn't uncommon to have 20+ Trainers needing access to a Gym which can become difficult on sidewalks or piers that may otherwise have been deemed eligible for safe pedestrian access.
Care to unban me like I asked over a PM that you've seen to have ignored?
this Jamie kay fellow still does the same thing. can nia please intervene. He is really encouraging people to accept invalid portals.
valid reasons to 1* are being erased and people muted all the time