How should I tag a road with multiple lanes in each direction and parallel parking allowed but without any extra space for the parallel parking?

I’ve read the wiki pages on lanes and street parking, but I don’t see where this specific situation is covered. In my city, some streets have two or more lanes painted in each direction; however, parallel parking is also allowed; however, there is no extra space on the side for said parallel parking. In other words, the parallel parking obstructs drivers’ ability to use that outer lane.

I understand how to tag a two-lane street w/ parallel parking on both sides:

kurb Lane 1 Lane 2 Lane 3 Lane 4 kurb
kurb parallel parking backward forward parallel parking kurb



But what if Lanes 1 and 4 are explicitly marked as travel lanes (in the US this means they are marked w/ white dashed lines w/ a double-yellow in the center) and Lanes 1 and 4 also allow for parallel parking without any extra space for said parallel parking, i.e., if somebody parallel parks in that lane, you have to change lanes in order to move forward?

kurb Lane 1 Lane 2 Lane 3 Lane 4 kurb
kurb backward and/or parallel parking backward forward forward and/or parallel parking kurb


Option 1:

  • Pros: Represents the number of guaranteed travel lanes and enables data consumers to guesstimate the road’s width with greater confidence.
  • Cons: Under represents the maximum number of travel lanes available in stretches where no vehicles are parallel parked.

Option 2:

  • Pros: Represents the maximum possible number of travel lanes where no vehicles are parallel parked.
  • Cons: Overstates the number of guaranteed travel lanes where vehicles are parallel parked; might cause data consumers to incorrectly guesstimate the road’s width.

Some real life examples in Richmond, Virginia (except w/ a total of three explicitly marked lanes instead of four):

  1. West Leigh Street eastbound, east of Brook Road - way 38256518 in OSM, and here is a Mapillary image.
  2. East Broad Street - way 692873425. In the Mapillary imagery, two SUVs are parallel parked on the opposite side of the road. On this stretch, three lanes are explicitly marked, with extra space for parallel parking on the right side of the road, but on the opposite side of the road, people are parallel parked even though it is explicitly marked as two travel lanes, and there is no extra space for the parallel parked vehicles. I believe those two SUVs are parked legally.

I can’t find any documentation on this specific scenario. I’m also having a hard time thinking of what specific tags I could query in Overpass to find other real world examples.

Thus, I turn to the community: How would you tag this situation and why? Do you know of any other real world examples I can examine? Can you think of any tags that would be specific to this situation so that I could query Overpass to find other examples?

Thanks in advance!

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That is exactly what is meant with parking:*=lane: parking vehicles will obstruct the traffic on the lane. An extra “parking lane” or “space for parking” would be parking:*=street_side.

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Hmm, I’m not sure if I’m reading this right. To be clear, how would you tag my first drawing, as parking:both=lane or parking:both=street_side?

IMHO both my drawings should get parking:both=lane, but I also feel like there should be separate tags when parallel parking obstructs an explicitly marked lane (as in my second drawing) versus when each explicitly marked lane is two car widths hence the parallel parking fits comfortably (as in my first drawing). Maybe that’s what the explicit width=* tag is for (in addition to the lanes=* tag), although for some reason, that still just does not seem satisfactory to me.

Either way, thanks for chiming in.

As paraking:both=lane. If you feel width is necessary to specify if a parked car would completely block one lane, that’s useful of course, and highly welcome.

What’s left I guess is the lanes= tag. Reading the Wiki more closely, it only says that “Lanes dedicated and marked for parking” should not be counted in lanes=.

So how about

  • If the parking lane is not marked/painted (it is just that it’s legal to park on the carriageway), it should be tagged as =lane and counted in lanes=
  • If the parking lane is marked/painted, it should be tagged as =lane and not counted in lanes=

Both situations would be counted in width= as that is defined as kerb to kerb.

The ones in the Mapillary example are’t painted so would count as lanes for the purpose of the lanes= tag.

Hmm… my interpretation is the opposite of yours: If there are lane markings on that stretch of road, but the parallel parking is not marked separately at all, then I don’t think the parallel parking counts in the number of lanes. On the other hand, if the parallel parking lane is marked as a proper lane indicating that it can be driven in when no one is parked there (as in the examples that I linked to in my OP), then it counts in the total number of lanes. Lmk your thoughts. Either way, thanks for chiming in.

I think we agree with each other, we’re just saying it differently: what I meant was that a row of parked cars doesn’t reduce the lanes count unless the parking bays are painted on the road surface. So the second mapillary shows 2+1=3 lanes (so lanes=3).