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I was about to ask the same question. I think, actually, that the situations I have found are even worse. I am talking about alleys where a car just won't fit and sometimes, due to steep slopes, they're accessible only through stairways. The combination highway=service,service=alley didn't look appropriate because it seems like suggesting that you could go there by car if you need to; highway=pedestrian seems to refer more to a broad road that could in theory be employed by cars but has been chosen to not be; so I went for highway=footway. I know it's wrong, but what should I do instead?

asked 09 Feb '15, 21:36

Decan's gravatar image

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converted 10 Feb '15, 08:53

scai's gravatar image

scai ♦

If a car doesn't fit then just don't use a tag indicating a car-usable road. Why do you think highway=footway is wrong? It sounds really fine to me for your case. Additional access tags might be needed if bicycles or mofas are allowed, for example.

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answered 10 Feb '15, 08:55

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scai ♦
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Would highway=path suit these cases, in case one can cycle there? I personally would not use such a tag, but I can't say why.

(10 Feb '15, 10:02) Decan

Yes it would, see the default access restrictions. Note that path also allows horses. Likewise, adding bicycle=yes to highway=footway will also allow bicycles. Generally it can't hurt to specify some access restrictions explicitly, especially when using highway=path.

(10 Feb '15, 11:02) scai ♦

I see, but these allowances and restrictions are unspecified: they can just be derived by common sense. All the same?

(10 Feb '15, 11:07) Decan

No, they can't always be derived by common sense. Especially since they can differ from country to country. In the end it also depends on the specific end-user application. I guess most car routers will avoid a way tagged as highway=path and vehicle=yes, so try to use reasonable highway values.

(10 Feb '15, 11:50) scai ♦

Unluckily "car doesn't fit" is not a useful criteria on its own given that there is a substantial difference in width (and length) between, say, an original Fiat 500 and your typical SUV. Random example (not a footway, simply a narrow alley).

(10 Feb '15, 11:59) SimonPoole ♦

Oh, in the cases I am talking about the car width indeterminacy just does not exist (these alleys are unsuitable even for a 1st-generation Fiat 500). My question about common sense only concerned bikes and mopeds, but everything seems clear now. Thank you all.

(10 Feb '15, 13:13) Decan

To Simon, a highway=service is designated for an average car size. We are not talking about bubble cars.

(10 Feb '15, 13:31) Pieren

@Pieren any of these can clearly navigate the street in my example.

(11 Feb '15, 10:06) SimonPoole ♦
showing 5 of 8 show 3 more comments

I would say that because there is no way that a car could travel along that route it should be tagged as highway=footway with bicycle=yes (I am not aware of any tags for motorbikes/scooters) and where there are steps, that section should be tagged highway=steps.

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answered 11 Feb '15, 00:51

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Of course there are! Mofa, moped and motorcycle - see If you still don't like service/alley please consider highway=path which is the "universal footway" and hast bicycle already included.

(11 Feb '15, 08:21) Jojo4u

Thank you @Jojo4u I see it under motorised and single track. The tag highway=path is a "generic path" which I believe means it has been created by common usage (as across an unused plot or countryside) and not purpose built such as the alley described above.

(11 Feb '15, 09:18) RAytoun

@RAytoun That's a common misconception resulting from the poor naming scheme. highway=path is not just limited to trails but can be used for artificial, paved ways, too. A common example is to use highway=path for cycleways (paved and unpaved), usually by adding bicycle=designated.

(11 Feb '15, 09:45) scai ♦

@scai I thought that was what highway=cycleway was for. See Wiki for highway=path.... A non-specific path. Use highway=footway for paths mainly for walkers, highway=cycleway for one also usable by cyclists, highway=bridleway for ones available to horses as well as walkers and highway=track for ones which is passable by agriculture or similar vehicles.

(11 Feb '15, 10:17) RAytoun

Unfortunately those highway categories have overlapping meanings. It's true that highway=path is very unspecific by default, unless you add additional access tags. But it is equally valid to use path for paved footways, cycleways and bridleways as long as the required access tags are applied. That's not very ideal but it's hard to change an established tagging scheme afterwards.

(11 Feb '15, 10:36) scai ♦

highway=service plus service=alley is the natural tag for narrow access roads where motorized traffic is allowed. Combine with est_width or really fancy vehicle:conditional=discouraged@(width>1m) "some medieval European settlements alleys may be the very narrow streets which run in-between buildings, providing public through-access."

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answered 10 Feb '15, 16:25

Jojo4u's gravatar image

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There is simplay a cultural divide between the US and Europe wrt the use of alley (and I'm not talking primarily about OSM here). In the US it is typically a real service road essentially to the back of your house/row of houses. In Europe it is a narrow road.

Using the same tagging for two quite different objects (regardless of what the wiki says) dosen't really work.

(10 Feb '15, 20:45) SimonPoole ♦

In front or in back side of houses, this not a big difference. In both cases, it's too narrow for two cars but is a public road by default

(11 Feb '15, 12:02) Pieren

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question asked: 09 Feb '15, 21:36

question was seen: 3,733 times

last updated: 11 Feb '15, 12:02

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