[OSM-talk] Path vs footway vs cycleway vs...
Nick.Whitelegg at solent.ac.uk
Mon Nov 30 10:29:12 GMT 2009
>I'm doing a lot of mapping of pedestrian and bike paths around my
>area, and am having trouble deciding when to use path, when footway,
>and when cycleway. I'm particularly troubled by the way Potlatch
>describes "path" as "unofficial path" - making it sound like an
>unpaved line of footprints carved through the grass.
I don't think "highway=path" means "unofficial path". Though different
people have interpretations, highway=path seems to be used most often for
dirt paths in the countryside. An unofficial path where the landowner has
allowed access (or doesn't mind access) should be tagged as highway=path
*and* foot=permissive. Without the foot tag, many would assume the path's
>Could someone give me guidance on a few specific scenarios:
>1) In the parks near me, there are lots of paths, which I guess were
>probably intended for pedestrians, but cyclists use them too.
>Sometimes paved, sometimes not. I've been tagging them "highway=path,
>bicycle=yes" (to be safe).
I generally use footway, rather than path, for paved paths but again this
is a contentious point.
Do you know whether bikes can access the path? If a designated bike path,
use "highway=cycleway"/"bicycle=designated" (optional). If you're not
sure, use highway=footway and leave the bicycle tag out or use
>2) Multi-use paths, like in new housing developments. Usually paved,
>and connecting streets together.
If a definite cycle path:
highway=footway; foot=permissive; [bicycle=unknown]
>3) Genuine multi-use paths along the sides of creeks or freeways.
>Frequently with a dotted line down the middle. Most people think of
>them as bike paths, but plenty of pedestrians use them too.
>"highway=cycleway, foot=yes" seems the most satisfying, but according
>to the definition, it should just be a "path"? I tend to assume it's a
>cycleway if the gap between two entrances ever exceeds a kilometre or
This would simply be highway=cycleway, I think the general assumption is
that pedestrians are permitted unless "foot=no" is added.
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