[Tagging] path vs footway

Paul Johnson baloo at ursamundi.org
Sun Nov 30 01:43:04 UTC 2014

On Tue, Nov 4, 2014 at 4:17 AM, Richard Mann <
richard.mann.westoxford at gmail.com> wrote:

> Interesting interpretation of history. Slightly different version:
> The path tag was introduced by people who couldn't deal with
> highway=cycleway being shared with pedestrians, and wanted something less
> mode-specific than highway=footway and highway=cycleway.

This is actually an important distinction, as cycleways generally adhere to
the applicable highway standards for lane widths, markings and signage,
which are usually absent on smaller and/or more multimodally oriented
spaces.   Compare a paved MUP looping your neighborhood park (which, odds
are, is maybe 2-2.5m wide) compared to a cycleway with markings (which
tends to be 2.5-3m wide, *per lane*).  Consider it the nonmotorized
infrastructure distinction between highway=unclassified and
highway=tertiary (or higher, when you start throwing on values greater than
one for both lanes:forward and lanes:backward for more than turn:lanes:* or
start dealing with divided multilane cycleways).

Personally I use highway=footway+bicycle=yes if it's low quality and legal
> for cycling, and highway=cycleway (which implies foot=yes in the UK) if
> it's halfway decent for cycling. And highway=path in field and forest.

I'd avoid using highway=cycleway if it's not built primarily for a
cyclist's benefit, readily identifiable with standard pavement markings and
signage.  Granted, this means there's some decent chunks of infrastructure
that end up highway=path; bicycle=designated; foot=designated that end up
as major portions of a cycleway and/or hiking network.
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