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Does this tag really imply that there are sidewalks/footways on both sides of the way? It has been stated on Proposed_features/Advanced_footway_and_cycleway under "Tagging" -> "Define what kinds of ways there are". --Mikalaari 10:35, 15 December 2009

The last time it was discussed on the mailing lists, no one seemed to object to the notions that we really can't tell which implication (none vs. both) is more often correct, and data consumers need to consider them as sidewalk=unknown. You can definitively walk on residential roads, unless tagged otherwise, but without extra ways (the sidewalks) or suitable tags you just don't know whether there's a dedicated sidewalk/footway available. Alv 14:08, 15 December 2009 (UTC)

use on relations

"Note: tagging street relations with this tag may be problematic, including for a single street in a single city, as the street relation may have residential sections and other sections classified as primary, secondary, tertiary or unclassified. Don't use this tag on route relations for public transports, or relations created only for addresses (such as associatedStreet). In such case it remains preferable to tag only the individual ways instead of having conflicting tags between the relation and ways. Tag relations only if the tag applies to all member ways." was added in

At the same time page is not explaining how this tag may be used on relations and page indicates that it is not supposed to be used for relations. It seems not necessary to mention that using it for some specific relations is also not necesary Mateusz Konieczny (talk) 22:48, 21 November 2017 (UTC)

I agree. The relations that may be needed for addresses (i.e. type=associatedStreet) contain various segments (role=street) with different highway=* types (including footways, paths or tracks), and address nodes (role=house).
However the use on relation is for something else: pedestrian areas that have a consistant type=pedestrian and must also be tagged with area=yes. This is the most frequent case I know where a relation may be needed, and this relation will be a member of an associatedStreet relation (also with role=street) and with other address nodes (role=house).
But may be we'll have relations for areas that are on water (canals, rivers, lakes, ponds, sea) and where the water area relation is acting as street within an a associatedStreet relation (i.e. addresses are for floatting residences).
Verdy_p (talk) 00:42, 22 November 2017 (UTC)