Metro Vancouver Bikeways and Greenways

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It has been proposed that this page be moved to "Vancouver/Metro Bikeways and Greenways". (Discuss)

This is project to tag bikeways and greenways in Vancouver and hopefully come up with a consistent tagging method for cycle infrastructure in the region.


The Metro Vancouver Regional District and its member municipalities are currently trying to promote cycling in the region. As such, the pace of development for new & upgraded cycling infrastructure is accelerating. The goal of this project is to keep up to date with developments, and standardize how routes are tagged before they become too much of a mess.

Infrastructure Tagging Basics

In OSM, on-road cycling infrastructure (eg. painted bike lanes, shared lanes) are tagged as cycle lanes and off-road infrastructure are tagged as cycle tracks. Cycle tracks are identified by being physically separated from a roadway by a number of possible measures (eg. curbs, grass boulevards, jersey barriers). Refer to the Bicycle tag page for more details.

Cycle Lanes

Cycle lanes are mapped by applying the cycleway=* tag directly on the roadway where they are located.

Table 1: Tags for Cycle Lanes
Tag Notes
cycleway:right=* or


Used to specify specifcally when cycle lanes only exist on one side of the road. "Right" and "left" are relative to the direction the ways are drawn. See Forward & backward, left & right for more information
cycleway=lane Used for bicycle travel lanes only separated from vehicle lanes by paint on the roadway (ie. painted bike lanes)
cycleway:buffer=lane Used where there is a small buffer between the cycle lane and vehicle lane (but no physical barrier)
cycleway=shared_lane For roads with bicycle pictograms ("Sharrows") or "share the road" bicycle signage
oneway:bicycle=no Used on roads that are one-way for vehicles, but bicycles are free to travel in both directions. Best practice is to add a cycleway=* tag as well to indicate whether bicycles use a seperate lane or share the road with opposing vehicle traffic.

Note: Painted bike lanes should never be tagged as a separate way. Separately tagged cycleways should only be used for cycle tracks.

When to tag shared cycle lanes

Shared cycle lanes are used for roads where bicycle pictograms ("sharrows") or "share the road" signage are located.

Most local "quiet street" bikeways in Vancouver are have sharrows or signage installed, but not all. Roads that are part of these bikeways should have the cycleway=shared_lane tag, even if the they do not have sharrows or signage installed. Bike routes which are not on local streets and do not have sharrows/signage should not have this tag applied. This is because local bikeways have lowered speed limits and the shared roadway is implied whether or not signage is present.

Cycle Tracks

Table 2: Tags for Cycle Tracks
Tag Notes
cycleway:right=* or


Same as for cycle lanes. Used when the infrastructure only exists on one side of the road. "Right" and "left" are relative to the direction the ways are drawn. See Forward & backward, left & right for more information
cycleway=track Applied to roadways with protected bike lanes. Should not be used where the bike lane is drawn separately.
cycleway=separate Applied to roadways where bike lanes are mapped as a separate way.

(Usually combined with cycleway:right=* / cycleway:left=*)

highway=cycleway Applied to dedicated bike-only paths and independently mapped cycle tracks. When mapped as a separate way to a roadway, the roadway must have the cycleway=separate tag.

Cycle tracks can be tagged with either a cycleway=track tag to the roadway, or as a separate way.

In general, a cycle track should be tagged on roadways where cyclists are treated equivalently as vehicles and are expected to follow the same rules of the road. (eg. protected bike lanes which are equivalent to painted bicycle lanes with a physical barrier).

However, cycle tracks may be tagged separately from roadway where there is sufficient separation from vehicle lanes (eg. wide grassy boulevard in between). Separately tagged cycle tracks are also warranted where cyclists follow a separate traffic signal than vehicle traffic at intersections.

Cycle tracks should also be tagged as a separate cycleway on dedicated cycling paths or where the infrastructure treats cyclists equivalent to a pedestrian and/or share infrastructure with pedestrians (eg. Multi-Use Paths).

Infrastructure Tagging Examples

Type of Infrstructure Description Tags
Shared local "quiet" street bikeways The most common form of cycling infrastructure found in Vancouver. Characterized by utilizing non-arterial roads with typically (but sadly not always) low traffic volumes. These bikeways will always have signage indicating a 30km/hr speed limit, and sometimes have sharrows painted on the road. Traffic calming such as speed humps may be found on these bikeways. cycleway=shared_lane with maxspeed=30 if Speed humps are located on the road they should be tagged with traffic_calming=hump and direction=both
Shared lanes on major (collector/arterial) roadways Not comfortable for most cyclists, but should still be tagged for the few who would want to utilize them. Always indicated with sharrows or "Share the Lane" signage. cycleway=shared_lane with maxspeed=50 (unless speed limit is otherwise noted).
Painted Bike Lane Bike lanes on roadways which do not have a physical barrier preventing vehicle traffic from entering the bicycle lane. cycleway=lane on the applicable roadway
Protected Bike Lane Bike lanes on roadways which have a physical separation from vehicle traffic. Protected bike lanes may be one-way or bi-directional and are typically located between a vehicle travel lane and a sidewalk. cycleway=track on the applicable roadway

or highway=cycleway with cycleway=separate on the applicable roadway

Dedicated Cycle Paths Fairly rare in the lower mainland. Typically asphalt-paved paths with signage/paint indicating the path should be used by only bicycles. highway=cycleway
Multi-Use Pathways (MUPs) Multi-use pathways are paths which are physcially separated from motor vehicles and may explictly be used by any-non motorized user. MUPs are almost always bi-directional and may be found in parks or adjacent to roads.[1] MUPs are typically 3.0m wide, or wider.

Multi-Use Paths should not have the highway=cycleway tag since they are not dedicated cycling facilities, and cyclists are typically expected to yield to pedestrians. Exceptions may apply on a case-by-case basis.

highway=path + bicycle=designated + foot=designated + segregated=no
Separated Bicycle and pedestrian Pathways Like a multi-use path, however cyclist are segregated from other users of the path. May be tagged as one way for both users or as two separate ways.

If the paths are adjacent to each other as a single segregated path, it may be tagged as a single way. Two separate ways may be warranted where there is sufficient separation between the two pathways and crossing between the two is not easily done.

highway=path + bicycle=designated + foot=designated + segregated=yes

or highway=cycleway + foot=designated + segregated=yes

or highway=cycleway and highway=footway on separate ways

It is also good practice to specify the surface type of the roadway/path.

Tagging Bicycle Routes

Only officially designated routes should be tagged in OSM.

While route tags can be applied to each way segment along the route, cycle routes should instead be tagged using a route relations. The cycle route relation holds all the relevant information for the cycle route and should have all ways comprising the bike route as its members. See the Cycle routes page for more details.

Cycle route relations in Metro Vancouver should follow the following tagging scheme:

Table 3: Cycle Route Tagging Guidelines
Tag Notes
network=lcn or




Denotes the network type that this route forms a part of. Locally designated routes use lcn (eg. Arbutus Greenway), regionally designated routes use rcn (eg. BC Parkway) and national routes (eg. Trans Canada Trail) use ncn.
cycle_network=CA:BC:Municipality or




cycle_network=CA:BC:Municipality is used for local networks, with the name of the city replacing municipality.

cycle_network=CA:BC:Translink is used for routes designated by Translink. (At the moment only BC Parkway and Central Valley Greenway should have these tags) cycle_network=CA:CA is used for the national routes.

name=* Full name of the cycling route (eg. 10th Avenue Bikeway, Arbutus Greenway)
ref=* Originally used for numbered routes, in the lower mainland this tag is used to display the abbreviated name of bike routes which are typically found on signage. (eg. 10th Ave, Arbutus)
state=proposed This tag is only be used for routes which do not currently exist, but are proposed to be designated.

Most bike routes share the road with vehicles and therefore the relation should be applied to the road way. Where there is a separately tagged cycle track from the road, the route should be applied to the cycle track way and not the road way.

Where the bike route is only applicable in one direction on a road, the relation tag on the way should be marked with the "forward" role.Vancouver.

Proposed Routes

Bike routes proposed by municipalities may be tagged in OSM with a cycle route relation including the state=proposed tag. Proposed bike routes should not be conceptual long-term routes and should only be routes that a municipality is creating or expects to create within a short time frame (maximum 5 years).

Sometimes, existing routes have proposed extensions. In this case, a separate bike route relation may be created for the purposes of tagging the extension. However, this relation should be deleted when the extension is completed and the existing relation should be extended to include the new route alignment.

Regional Cycling Routes

Regional cycling routes are most commonly bicycle routes along provincial highways. The exceptions are the two bicycle routes that generally follow the Skytrain network and are partially owned/maintained by Translink.

Name Municipalities Route Notes
BC Parkway Burnaby, New Westminster, Surrey, Vancouver Generally parallels the route of the Expo Line. Goes from King George Station to the Central Valley Greenway in East Vancouver Translink is responsible for the portion between Nanaimo and New Westminster stations.[2]
Central Valley Greenway Burnaby, New Westminster, Vancouver Generally parallels the route of the Millenium Line.

Proposed Major Bikeway Network

Translink is pursuing a regional cycling network for Metro Vancouver called the Major Bikeway Network. Similar to the Major Road Network for vehicles, the network will utilize existing bikeways owned and operated by local municpalities and the Province.

It's unclear at the moment if the network will have dedicated signage & wayfinding. Until then, the routes in the network should not be tagged as a regional cycle route.

Local Cycling Routes


List of Bicycle Routes in Vancouver
Route Name Abbrevation Mapped in OSM Notes
3rd Avenue Bikeway 3rd Ave Yes
4th Avenue Bikeway 4th Ave Yes
10th Avenue Bikeway 10th Ave Yes
14th Avenue Bikeway 14th Ave Yes Western extension proposed in 5-year Active Mobility Plan
22nd Avenue Bikeway 22nd Ave Yes
29th Avenue Bikeway 29th Ave Yes
33rd Avenue Bikeway 33rd Ave Yes Two separated sections, one between Cambie and Heather, the other between Cycpress and Arbutus.
41st Avenue Bikeway 41st Ave No* Not currently an active route due to Oakridge development construction.
42nd Avenue Bikeway 42nd Ave Yes
45th Avenue Bikeway 45th Ave Yes
49th Avenue Bikeway 49th Ave Yes
63rd Avenue Bikeway 63rd Ave Yes
67th Avenue Bikeway 67th Ave Yes
Adanac Bikeway Adanac Yes
Alberni Bikeway Alberni Yes
Alder Bikeway Alder Yes
Alexander Bikeway Alexander Yes
Arbutus Greenway Arbutus Yes Northern portion temporarily rerouted due to Broadway Subway construction
Arthur Laing Bridge Arthur Laing Bridge No* Might be worth tagging the roadway with a regional cycling network tag
Balaclava Bikeway Balaclava Yes Route is located on Carnarvon Street for roughly half its length
BC Parkway Bikeway BC Parkway Unknown Route was created and is maintained in partnership with Translink, Burnaby and New Westminster
Beach Bikeway Beach Yes
Beatty Bikeway Beatty Yes
Blanca Blanca Blanca Yes
Burnaby Bikeway Burnaby Yes
Burrard Bikeway Burrard Yes* Relation name needs updating. Needs to be updated with cycle network.
Bute Bikeway Bute Unknown
Cambie Bikeway Cambie Yes
Cardero Bikeway Cardero Unknown
Carrall Greenway Carrall Unknown
Cassiar Bikeway Cassiar Unknown
Central Valley Greenway Central Valley Unknown
Charles Bikeway Charles No* Currently comprises of only the short protected segment at the Nanaimo Street intersection
Chestnut Bikeway Chestnut Unknown
Chilco Bikeway Chilco Unknown
Columbia Bikeway Columbia Yes
Comox-Helmcken Greenway Comox Helmcken Unknown
Cornwall Bikeway Cornwall Unknown
Cypress Bikeway Cypress Unknown
Dumfries Bikeway Dumfries Unknown
Dunbar Bikeway Dunbar Unknown
Dunsmuir Bikeway Dunsmuir Unknown
Expo Bikeway Expo Unknown
Fraser River Trail Fraser River Yes
Georgia Bikeway Georgia Unknown
Gladstone Bikeway Gladstone Yes
Haro Bikeway Haro Unknown
Hastings Park Greenways Hastings Park Yes Designated cycling routes through/around Hastings Park
Heather Bikeway Heather Yes
Heather/Cambie Connection Unknown Connects Heather and Cambie Bikeways. Not sure why they didn't just call it the 64th Avenue Bikeway.
Highbury Bikeway Highbury Unknown
Hillcrest Bikeway Hillcrest Yes
Homer Bikeway Homer Unknown
Hornby Bikeway Hornby Unknown
Inverness Bikeway Inverness Unknown
Keefer Bikeway Keefer Unknown
Kent Bikeway Kent Unknown
Kerr Bikeway Kerr Unknown
Killarney Bikeway Killarney Yes
King Edward Bikeway King Edward Unknown
Knight Street Bridge No Might be worth tagging the roadway with a regional cycling network tag
Lakewood Bikeway Lakewood Unknown
Laurel Overpass Bikeway Unknown
Main Bikeway Main No* Legacy bikeway. Used to be part of the cycling network, but is no longer marked on maps.
Marine Way Bikeway Marine Way Unknown
Masumi Mitsui Greenway Masumi Mitsui Yes
Melville/Dunsmuir Yes* Mapped as part of the Dunsmuir Bikeway relation
Midtown Bikeway Midtown Yes Overlaps with Ridgeway Greenway for a portion as Midtown/Ridgeway,
Midtown/Ridgeway Bikeway N/A Yes Officially combined route of Midtown and Ridgeway. Mapped as a standalone sub-relation of both routes.
Mosaic Bikeway Mosaic Yes
Nanaimo Bikeway Nanaimo Yes
Nelson Bikeway Nelson Unknown
Nicola Bikeway Nicola Unknown
Northern Bikeway Northern Unknown
Oak Street Bridge No Might be worth tagging the roadway with a regional cycling network tag
Off-Broadway Bikeway Off-Broadway Unknown
Ontario Greenway Ontario Unknown
Pacific Bikeway Pacific Unknown
Pandora Bikeway Pandora Yes
Pender Bikeway Pender Unknown
Portside Greenway Portside Unknown
Powell Overpass Bikeway Powell Unknown
Prince Edward Bikeway Prince Edward Yes
Quebec Bikeway Quebec Unknown
Richards Bikeway Richards Unknown
Ridgeway Greenway Ridgeway Yes Overlaps with Midtown Bikeway for a portion as Midtown/Ridgeway,
Rupert Bikeway Rupert Yes
Seabreeze Bikeway Seabreeze Yes
Seaside Greenway Seaside Unknown
Seaside Bypass Bypass Unknown
Smithe Bikeway Smithe Unknown
Stanley Park Bikeway Unknown
Stanley Park Causeway Unknown
Stanley Park Trails Unknown
Stephens Bikeway Stephens Yes Sub-Relation of 3rd Ave Bikeway as a connection
Sunrise Bikeway Sunrise Yes
SW Marine Bikeway SW Marine Unknown
Thurlow Bikeway Thurlow Unknown
Valley Bikeway Valley Unknown
Wales Duchess Bikeway Wales Duchess Yes
Waterfront Road Bikeway Unknown Apparently Located on Main street
Windermere Bikeway Windermere Yes
Windsor Bikeway Windsor Yes
York Bikeway York Yes
Yukon Bikeway Yukon Yes

Official Resources

Below is a list of official maps & resources from local authorities.


Translink is the regional transit authority, and is pursuing cycling initiatives in the region. They have also published a regional cycling map showing official and unofficial routes in Metro Vancouver.