NOTICE: is no longer in use from 1st March 2024. Please use the OpenStreetMap Community Forum

If you have two highways that look identical, but one is a public road and the other is a private road open to the public, are there any differences in tagging? Would the latter always be tagged access=permissive, or does that only apply when it looks like a private road?

As an example, here, Vista Boulevard is a private road on land owned by Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, while Bonnet Creek Parkway is a public road maintained by the Reedy Creek Improvement District (a public authority controlled by Disney but subject to state laws). Both are de facto public roads, and can be used by through traffic with no posted restrictions. Should Vista be tagged access=permissive, or is this not necessary?

asked 13 Jul '10, 20:22

NE2's gravatar image

accept rate: 9%

edited 31 Aug '10, 08:39

Jonathan%20Bennett's gravatar image

Jonathan Ben...

Personally I would leave Vista without any access= tag, but put a note (note=) about its ownership and de facto status.

Here in Russia if an owner wishes to restrict the access to somewhere, he just builds a fence and/or has the territory guarded, so the restriction is evident.

permanent link

answered 14 Jul '10, 14:28

GranD's gravatar image

accept rate: 0%

The ownership of a piece of land doesn't matter so much as the legal right of way that exists. I have no knowledge of US law on the subject, but in the UK (and possibly other jurisdictions) a public right of way can exist across privately owned land.

If a road is used as a public highway, is laid out as a public highway (signs, markings, signals) then tag it as such until you can get further information.

permanent link

answered 14 Jul '10, 15:45

Jonathan%20Bennett's gravatar image

Jonathan Ben...
accept rate: 18%

I'm not aware of any legal right-of-way (unless there's a de facto one due to decades of continuous use). Disney built the road to help employees access backstage areas, and as the resort expanded it was opened to the public. I know it's legally a private highway, privately owned and maintained. Yet it's open to the public and looks just like a public road. The only question is whether it should be highway= or highway= access=permissive.

(14 Jul '10, 18:01) NE2

In that case I'd apply the Duck test, and leave out the access=* tag until more information is available.

(14 Jul '10, 18:25) Jonathan Ben...

What "more information" is needed? A lawyer determining if there's a de facto public right-of-way?

(14 Jul '10, 18:44) NE2

Not necessarily a lawyer, but some knowledge of what local laws say. I only know about the UK, where if a way is used by the public for long enough, a right of way results. US law may not be the same, so unless you can find out what the legal situation really is, it's best not to make a judgment.

(15 Jul '10, 00:05) Jonathan Ben...

It's my understanding that the UK has many more de facto public rights-of-way than the US, probably due to its relative age and the resultant loss of original records. Disney could probably close off Vista tomorrow because it's on their property and only provides direct access to their property. If we assume this is true, would you say that it should be marked access=permissive?

(15 Jul '10, 00:33) NE2

Follow this question

By Email:

Once you sign in you will be able to subscribe for any updates here



Answers and Comments

Markdown Basics

  • *italic* or _italic_
  • **bold** or __bold__
  • link:[text]( "title")
  • image?![alt text](/path/img.jpg "title")
  • numbered list: 1. Foo 2. Bar
  • to add a line break simply add two spaces to where you would like the new line to be.
  • basic HTML tags are also supported

Question tags:


question asked: 13 Jul '10, 20:22

question was seen: 146,186 times

last updated: 31 Aug '10, 08:39

NOTICE: is no longer in use from 1st March 2024. Please use the OpenStreetMap Community Forum