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Author Topic: Looming politically caused road disaster in France?  (Read 3349 times)

mgk920

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Looming politically caused road disaster in France?
« on: May 25, 2019, 12:45:28 PM »

I've been seeing some chatter recently regarding the current left-wing/environmentalist extremist political regimes at all levels in France and how they appear to have made it policy to actively neglect the country's road and highway system, including ill-conceived 'road diets' and imposing absurdly slow photo-enforced speed limits throughout.

Can someone expand on this?

 :banghead:

Mike
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Alps

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Re: Looming politically caused road disaster in France?
« Reply #1 on: May 26, 2019, 12:07:06 AM »

Where are your biased right wing sources? A neutral search finds nothing.

Chris

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Re: Looming politically caused road disaster in France?
« Reply #2 on: May 26, 2019, 03:57:56 AM »

This is the same thing that you see across the western world, the ever-expanding political gap between the largest cities and the rest of the country. This also has its effect on mobility issues.

Political bubbles became ever more pronounced, with politicians and activists being in a bubble thinking there is mass support for demolishing freeways. The ideas about the proposed demolition of the Boulevard Périphérique are particularly out of touch with reality.

This is particularly pronounced in France due to the dominance of Paris, which also has effects on national politics. The yellow vests are there for a reason.

mgk920

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Re: Looming politically caused road disaster in France?
« Reply #3 on: May 26, 2019, 10:15:30 PM »

This is the same thing that you see across the western world, the ever-expanding political gap between the largest cities and the rest of the country. This also has its effect on mobility issues.

Political bubbles became ever more pronounced, with politicians and activists being in a bubble thinking there is mass support for demolishing freeways. The ideas about the proposed demolition of the Boulevard Périphérique are particularly out of touch with reality.

This is particularly pronounced in France due to the dominance of Paris, which also has effects on national politics. The yellow vests are there for a reason.

There is a lot of discussion on this in the French highways section of SkyscraperCity.  Yes, one of the plans is by the left-wing Paris city government to reduce the seriously traffic clogged Peripherique from eight lanes to four lanes and add several traffic signals on its mainline.

The discussion starts a few posts from the top of https://www.skyscrapercity.com/showthread.php?t=490597&page=215

Mike
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Re: Looming politically caused road disaster in France?
« Reply #4 on: May 26, 2019, 10:29:04 PM »

I've been seeing some chatter recently regarding the current left-wing/environmentalist extremist political regimes at all levels in France and how they appear to have made it policy to actively neglect the country's road and highway system, including ill-conceived 'road diets' and imposing absurdly slow photo-enforced speed limits throughout.
Can someone expand on this?

Some of those putative "road diets" are much worse than "diets", they are "road anorexia nervosa" or "road bulimia bingeing and puking".

Either way, vital nutrients are either not being consumed, or they are being blown out before any nutrition can be assimilated.
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Re: Looming politically caused road disaster in France?
« Reply #5 on: May 27, 2019, 01:17:42 PM »

Suck it up.

mgk920

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Re: Looming politically caused road disaster in France?
« Reply #6 on: May 28, 2019, 12:19:08 AM »

Expanding on this subject, I found a website with the collected rules, most emissions based, on entering various major European cities by car, truck, bus, etc.  Some are bordering on the absurd and I can't make heads or tails out of many of the various schemes.  Fines for violations, most of which are camera enforced and require numbered car stickers, can be steep, as in up to several hundred euros per violation.  Certain classes of vehicles are outright prohibited from entering certain city areas and the rules are being ramped up every few years, depending on the city, with what appears to be little to no 'grandfathering'.

https://www.urbanaccessregulations.eu/

YIKES!   :-o

Mike
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Re: Looming politically caused road disaster in France?
« Reply #7 on: May 28, 2019, 11:29:28 PM »

Expanding on this subject, I found a website with the collected rules, most emissions based, on entering various major European cities by car, truck, bus, etc.  Some are bordering on the absurd and I can't make heads or tails out of many of the various schemes.  Fines for violations, most of which are camera enforced and require numbered car stickers, can be steep, as in up to several hundred euros per violation.  Certain classes of vehicles are outright prohibited from entering certain city areas and the rules are being ramped up every few years, depending on the city, with what appears to be little to no 'grandfathering'.

https://www.urbanaccessregulations.eu/

YIKES!   :-o

Mike
Imagine living somewhere where owning a car isn't a right and other transit options are properly funded?

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Re: Looming politically caused road disaster in France?
« Reply #8 on: May 29, 2019, 08:22:51 AM »

This is the same thing that you see across the western world, the ever-expanding political gap between the largest cities and the rest of the country. This also has its effect on mobility issues.

Political bubbles became ever more pronounced, with politicians and activists being in a bubble thinking there is mass support for demolishing freeways. The ideas about the proposed demolition of the Boulevard Périphérique are particularly out of touch with reality.

This is particularly pronounced in France due to the dominance of Paris, which also has effects on national politics. The yellow vests are there for a reason.

There is a lot of discussion on this in the French highways section of SkyscraperCity.  Yes, one of the plans is by the left-wing Paris city government to reduce the seriously traffic clogged Peripherique from eight lanes to four lanes and add several traffic signals on its mainline.

The discussion starts a few posts from the top of https://www.skyscrapercity.com/showthread.php?t=490597&page=215

Mike
And to quote from that discussion:

Quote
No good ever comes from transferring critical highway infrastructure to municipalities. If it has a greater importance than local access, it should be owned by a higher level of government.

The Boulevard Périphérique is underdesigned for the amount of traffic it carries already. It is highly congested, even with 4 lanes each way. But there isn't much of an alternative, A86 is also very congested.

The problem with downgrading high capacity routes to the point they offer no advantage to city streets is that traffic will be pouring onto city streets, increasing traffic volumes on streets where people actually live on, as opposed to the BP, which is a separately contained route. Without a decent inner beltway, Paris will get a 'London scenario', with freeway-grade traffic volumes on residential streets. Somehow in the twisted minds of such policymakers this is a good thing...

Somehow, I completely agree.
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Chris

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Re: Looming politically caused road disaster in France?
« Reply #9 on: May 29, 2019, 11:18:37 AM »

Imagine living somewhere where owning a car isn't a right and other transit options are properly funded?

Public transit is not a viable option for most people. I know many Americans think the public transit infrastructure in Europe makes driving unnecessary, but that is from a tourist perspective. Your mobility needs change if you're not on a city trip vacation. Some 80-85% of passenger travel in Europe is by car. The Boulevard Périphérique is used by some 1.5 million people each day.

Trips are highly dispersed and criss-cross in a metropolitan area like that of Paris. Some of it is captured by transit, but it leaves a very large amount of people who rely on the road network to go where they need to go.

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Re: Looming politically caused road disaster in France?
« Reply #10 on: June 01, 2019, 08:12:44 PM »

Public transit is not a viable option for most people. I know many Americans think the public transit infrastructure in Europe makes driving unnecessary, but that is from a tourist perspective. Your mobility needs change if you're not on a city trip vacation. Some 80-85% of passenger travel in Europe is by car. The Boulevard Périphérique is used by some 1.5 million people each day.

Trips are highly dispersed and criss-cross in a metropolitan area like that of Paris. Some of it is captured by transit, but it leaves a very large amount of people who rely on the road network to go where they need to go.

Europeans do drive less, though - but what makes a bigger difference is development patterns. Europe tends to lack the large, low density suburban monoculture development that is typically present around every city in the US. Areas where people live are denser, and gratuitous culs-de-sac are less common. Thus, the average distance one needs to travel to get to one's destination is generally less.


Regarding the political situation with the Boulevard Periphique, I have never been to Paris (or anywhere in France) so I can only speak from an armchair perspective. But, what I find interesting in reading through the SkyscraperCity thread is that one of the most common talking points about freeway removals in the US - namely, that freeways divide neighborhoods and removing them helps stitch the local community back together - isn't coming up here. The desire to slow down/reduce automotive traffic seems to be focused entirely on noise pollution and air quality.

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Re: Looming politically caused road disaster in France?
« Reply #11 on: June 02, 2019, 02:02:52 AM »

what I find interesting in reading through the SkyscraperCity thread is that one of the most common talking points about freeway removals in the US - namely, that freeways divide neighborhoods and removing them helps stitch the local community back together - isn't coming up here. The desire to slow down/reduce automotive traffic seems to be focused entirely on noise pollution and air quality.
My guess is higher density European areas can afford to build more overpasses/tunnels for local traffic and pedestrians, than low density US cities
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Chris

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Re: Looming politically caused road disaster in France?
« Reply #12 on: June 02, 2019, 03:56:44 AM »

Europe is more suburban than one might think - but development patterns vary heavily by country.

While Europe has fewer typical American suburbs, it's more common to commute from smaller towns and villages, which are often mostly low density in character. Belgium has an extreme amount of low density ribbon development, so much that Flanders is considered to be almost entirely semi-urban instead of rural. French and German cities have extensive suburbanization in their metropolitan areas, but with some apartment blocks thrown in here and there. In much of Scandinavia the detached house is the norm outside of city cores, but apartment blocks do pop up in suburban areas, especially in Sweden.

Southern Europe tends to have higher densities though, even in suburban areas. Even smaller towns in Spain are often quite densely built up, I've read this has to do with historical water access. Spain has plenty of space for low density development.

In Eastern Europe there are many apartment blocks on the outskirts - a leftover from communist times. But this also varies, Budapest has a relatively low density outside the core while Warsaw has denser outskirts, with many apartment block neighborhoods.
« Last Edit: June 02, 2019, 03:59:20 AM by Chris »
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mgk920

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Re: Looming politically caused road disaster in France?
« Reply #13 on: June 02, 2019, 12:02:56 PM »

Imagine living somewhere where owning a car isn't a right and other transit options are properly funded?

Public transit is not a viable option for most people. I know many Americans think the public transit infrastructure in Europe makes driving unnecessary, but that is from a tourist perspective. Your mobility needs change if you're not on a city trip vacation. Some 80-85% of passenger travel in Europe is by car. The Boulevard Périphérique is used by some 1.5 million people each day.

Trips are highly dispersed and criss-cross in a metropolitan area like that of Paris. Some of it is captured by transit, but it leaves a very large amount of people who rely on the road network to go where they need to go.

The entire World is not Manhattan, where most people who live there can get around and live most of their lives using their own feet, bicycles, cabs/jitneys, buses, trams and metros.

Yes, I fully acknowledge that there is a valid need to keep street traffic in many European cities under control - most of these places, especially in Italy, were built centuries, even millennia before cars were even dreamed of and there is hardly any room in them for even those little ubiquitous Vespa scooters.  The grand boulevards in Paris predate cars by several decades, too, and were built the exact same way that the Cross Bronx Expressway was - by 'bulldozing' them straight through the pre-existing chaotic 'medieval' city, directed by an all-powerful leader.

Mike
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mgk920

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Re: Looming politically caused road disaster in France?
« Reply #14 on: June 02, 2019, 12:20:44 PM »

Regarding the political situation with the Boulevard Periphique, I have never been to Paris (or anywhere in France) so I can only speak from an armchair perspective. But, what I find interesting in reading through the SkyscraperCity thread is that one of the most common talking points about freeway removals in the US - namely, that freeways divide neighborhoods and removing them helps stitch the local community back together - isn't coming up here. The desire to slow down/reduce automotive traffic seems to be focused entirely on noise pollution and air quality.

In fact, within the past 10-15 years or so, the Swedes built an entirely new crosstown motorway through central Stockholm - by extensively using tunnels that are drilled through the rugged hard-rock landscape that is synonymous with Scandinavia.

Mike
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Re: Looming politically caused road disaster in France?
« Reply #15 on: June 23, 2019, 04:19:16 PM »

These things go back and forth as much as our own politics. There was just an election in Madrid won by center and right candidates which will likely limit the car ban in the central city. However, you also need to remember many European cities existed long before automobiles. Most of Appleton - like most American cities west of the Appalachians - was farmland until after 1900 and cars quickly were factored into how to build new streets. (I grew up in Green Bay. I'm very familiar how big Appleton once was.) Many European urban centers existed before Columbus. There are good reasons to limit traffic on these medieval streets.

Some of these measures are actually needed. To use a nearby example, Madison's State Street used to be a nightmare of cars, buses, bicycles, and pedestrians. Eliminating cars from the equation - which was back in the 70s - made it much better for everyone. Almost nobody is asking for a return of cars to State Street.

Road diets can also be useful where an urban street once had far more traffic than it currently carries. Most of my career was in St Louis which has many such streets from the days when the city had twice the population (and jobs) and no freeways. Streets like Broadway, Manchester, and Chouteau needed road diets because the wide streets encouraged speeding and even racing on some stretches, which endangered other drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians. I have personally seen cars travelling at 50 mph and more down all these very urban streets before their roads diets. All three streets are much better with little change for most motorists using the streets. (I regularly used South Broadway after its road diet and it was still a functional artery from South County.) Unfortunately, some now think it's a panacea to reduce traffic where there are no reasonable alternatives (e.g., Gravois). Most proposed road diets I've seen are ill-conceived with little regard to the consequences. They also are rarely implemented.

I agree that many of the websites contain idealistic - and unrealistic - dreams. The US freeway removal websites are mostly fantasy where a few people make claims about why a highway needs to be removed without actually talking to the users and often the locals. The current controversy over the removal of I-980 in Oakland is a great example; the most vocal anti-freeway activists are mostly urbanist gentrifiers who claim to be concerned with those west of the highway but their only real concern is getting rid of a freeway they don't use themselves (yet is normally quite busy). It's good to get rid of urban stubs like the aborted Park Freeway in Milwaukee. But most of their plans are bad idea pipedreams.

I remember camera-enforced speed limits going back to when I was stationed in Rota in the early 80s. It was pretty well-established in at least Spain then and probably much of the continent. I don't like them, but they're the reality there. It's a Sisyphean fight.

Please try to keep your political biases out of these discussions. These discussions work better when they're not sidetracked by any left or right bias.
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Re: Looming politically caused road disaster in France?
« Reply #16 on: September 05, 2019, 10:14:52 PM »

Regarding the political situation with the Boulevard Periphique, I have never been to Paris (or anywhere in France) so I can only speak from an armchair perspective. But, what I find interesting in reading through the SkyscraperCity thread is that one of the most common talking points about freeway removals in the US - namely, that freeways divide neighborhoods and removing them helps stitch the local community back together - isn't coming up here. The desire to slow down/reduce automotive traffic seems to be focused entirely on noise pollution and air quality.

In fact, within the past 10-15 years or so, the Swedes built an entirely new crosstown motorway through central Stockholm - by extensively using tunnels that are drilled through the rugged hard-rock landscape that is synonymous with Scandinavia.

A much longer set of tunnels (total of about 18 km in tunnel and 3 km at-grade or above grade), which will  become a western bypass motorway (Förbifart Stockholm in Swedish) for most traffic needing to pass Stockholm, is now under construction, and will be nearly entirely in bored tunnel.

English language page is here.
« Last Edit: September 05, 2019, 10:17:44 PM by cpzilliacus »
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cpzilliacus

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Re: Looming politically caused road disaster in France?
« Reply #17 on: October 27, 2019, 08:07:34 PM »

Regarding the political situation with the Boulevard Periphique, I have never been to Paris (or anywhere in France) so I can only speak from an armchair perspective. But, what I find interesting in reading through the SkyscraperCity thread is that one of the most common talking points about freeway removals in the US - namely, that freeways divide neighborhoods and removing them helps stitch the local community back together - isn't coming up here. The desire to slow down/reduce automotive traffic seems to be focused entirely on noise pollution and air quality.

In fact, within the past 10-15 years or so, the Swedes built an entirely new crosstown motorway through central Stockholm - by extensively using tunnels that are drilled through the rugged hard-rock landscape that is synonymous with Scandinavia.

The Northern Link (Swedish language Wikipedia here with many more pictures) (most of which is signed highway E20, and part of which is highway 277) and Southern Link  (Swedish Wikipedia here (highway 75) motorways are on the edges of the regional core. 

An Eastern Link has yet to be built. If it is constructed, it will complete a small-circumference highway around the regional core of Stockholm (the western part of the circumferential, Essingeleden (E4/E20) mostly at-grade or above-grade with one short tunnel, was built in the 1960's, opened originally running on the left (see linked article for an image of left-hand running on the motorway) but designed and engineered for right-hand operation, which happened in 1967 when Swedish switched to right-side traffic).

There are a few (older) road tunnels in the core area of Stockholm, but these are not as important in terms of the regional transportation network.
« Last Edit: October 27, 2019, 08:31:00 PM by cpzilliacus »
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Re: Looming politically caused road disaster in France?
« Reply #18 on: February 09, 2021, 06:29:52 AM »

I've been seeing some chatter recently regarding the current left-wing/environmentalist extremist political regimes at all levels in France and how they appear to have made it policy to actively neglect the country's road and highway system, including ill-conceived 'road diets' and imposing absurdly slow photo-enforced speed limits throughout.

Can someone expand on this?

 :banghead:

Mike


Really?  Could you politicize this any more with namecalling?

I think it’s challenging for many Americans to understand European approaches to urban planning.  There’s clearly not a one size fits all here.  Having driven the Boulevard Périphérique (note spelling) over a 30-year span, clearly the Level of Service has declined notably. While I don’t think reducing the capacity of the BP is an intuitive solution, its LOS will continue to decline, I expect.  Most European cities rely on a beltway to distribute traffic with only short radial stretches poking into the outer reaches of the central city. The BP is in a denser, older area than most European beltways, and that is the challenge here. I think most Europeans, regardless of political affiliation, realize that an American approach to urban transportation will not work there. And that’s what makes European central cities so desirable. 

That is not to say that suburbs operate under the same mode in Europe.  Look at Madrid’s freeway network, for example.  And that creates the conflict in the BP’s case. It is the interface between two planning paradigms.  A better solution here would be to bridge the BP with urban spaces to enhance livability, as very recently proposed for I-94 in St. Paul, Minnesota in the Rondo neighborhood. 

And I disagree with statement that France is neglecting its highway system.  There are a number of new autoroutes being constructed. 

I’ve always maintained that the we need to have a balanced transportation system.  We can never build ourselves out of congestion with highways alone.
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Re: Looming politically caused road disaster in France?
« Reply #19 on: February 09, 2021, 07:19:04 AM »

That was quite a passionate response to a post from 2019...All for bumping old threads when there's new info or whatnot, but this one comes across like someone tapping you on the shoulder and saying, "Remember that discussion we had back in high school?  Well, here's my response..."
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Re: Looming politically caused road disaster in France?
« Reply #20 on: February 09, 2021, 11:25:02 AM »

And I disagree with statement that France is neglecting its highway system.  There are a number of new autoroutes being constructed. 

Unfortunately there hasn't been much improvement in that regard since the original discussion two years ago.

There are currently only two autoroutes under construction: the Strasbourg bypass and the N79 > A79 autoroute conversion.

Just this week the funding was voted away from the Rouen bypass (A28). And the A45 southwest of Lyon was scrapped not too long ago. Other projects like the A51 gap are stuck, I doubt if there even is any active planning for it. A6 and A7 in Lyon are downgraded to low speed urban roads (now numbered M6 and M7) while no alternative was built (originally planned as the western bypass). A7 Lyon - Orange is the worst congestion bottleneck of the tolled autoroute network but no solution is even on the radar. A69 might be the most viable new autoroute project in the coming years. It would link Toulouse to Castres.

Toulouse is also becoming more and more problematic, it is one of the fastest growing urban areas in Western Europe, and has outgrown its original highway network. Not much is being done to alleviate that, however.

There also used to be plans to improve regional connectivity that are postponed indefinitely, like the A5 extension to the Belfort area, the A26 extension from Troyes to Auxerre to Bourges as part of the 'Grand Contournement of Paris', the great western bypass of Paris (N154), the Lorraine urban corridor bypass, and various expressways as part of the remaining national road system, where development is exceedingly slow.

The French government spends close to nothing on road improvements nowadays. The few improvements that do occur are paid for by tolls (concession extensions). France may be the country where the national government spends the fewest amount of euros on roads. Almost all roads are transferred to the departments, so the national government only operates a discontinuous network of national roads and a few non-concession autoroutes, mostly in the north and around Paris.

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Re: Looming politically caused road disaster in France?
« Reply #21 on: February 09, 2021, 12:49:51 PM »

That was quite a passionate response to a post from 2019...All for bumping old threads when there's new info or whatnot, but this one comes across like someone tapping you on the shoulder and saying, "Remember that discussion we had back in high school?  Well, here's my response..."

It was at least more interesting than the times someone bumps an ancient list thread just to add another item to the list.
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Re: Looming politically caused road disaster in France?
« Reply #22 on: March 07, 2021, 03:49:56 PM »

That was quite a passionate response to a post from 2019...All for bumping old threads when there's new info or whatnot, but this one comes across like someone tapping you on the shoulder and saying, "Remember that discussion we had back in high school?  Well, here's my response..."
I’d also be very interested to know his expertise in European transportation planning. Not that I know anything more as I’ve yet to travel to Europe however I find it very amusing how almost every urbanist or RE/T advocate in the US is always an expert in European cities and their urban planning strategies.
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