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User Content => Road Trips => Topic started by: 1 on June 18, 2022, 11:07:28 AM

Title: Trip to Paris and London
Post by: 1 on June 18, 2022, 11:07:28 AM
This is not primarily a road trip, but of course, we're seeing a lot of roads.

Day 0 (since there seem to be a lot of floor 0s in Paris, and even a floor -1 in the airport): We (my mother and I) took the plane from Logan to Charles de Gaulle Airport in the middle of the night. Somehow, the Uber driver took two wrong turns trying to get to Logan, although the second was caused by a car refusing to let him in. On the flight, the horizon never got completely dark due to a combination of it being a few days from the solstice, the high latitude, and being in an airplane meaning I could see below the horizon.

Day 1: We took a taxi to temporarily stay at a relative's house at the 15e arrondissement about 2,5 km south of the Eiffel Tower. We had croissants for breakfast at 1,25€ each (cheaper than the US, but to be expected sine I've previously gotten a cruller in Quιbec for C$0,99). We walked to the Eiffel Tower. It was under construction due to the upcoming 2024 Olympic Games, so the park next to it had some blocked off areas, and the top floor of the Eiffel Tower was closed when we got there but open when we finally finished. They were selling souvenirs such as the typical ones (including a metal Eiffel Tower for 7€ that I got for 1,50€ elsewhere), Christmas ornaments (in June!), and outside not not associated with the tower itself, people selling cheap plastic ones for 1€ or "one dollar American". Aren't British tourists more common than American tourists? There were also two shell (well, cup) game setups, which we obviously did not play. However, it's going to get to 39°C as I type (note that I'm still thinking in Fahrenheit despite switching to euros, 24-hour time, and possibly kilometers), and Europe has very little air conditioning, so it made my mother really uncomfortable in the hour wait to the Eiffel Tower despite most of it being in the shade. We then ate lunch (I had a croque madame), and we took the train (1,90€ each) one stop back to where we were. We couldn't check into the actual B&B until 4, so we stayed at the place we dropped off our luggage for about 45 minutes before calling a taxi an getting to the B&B in the 2e arrondissement, where I am now.

Oh yes, the roads.

Urban design (i.e. kernals12 debate):

Non-road-related observations:
Title: Re: Trip to Paris and London
Post by: J N Winkler on June 18, 2022, 11:53:33 AM
Just a few observations:

License plates seen: F (obviously), N, B, D, E, I, and a two-letter one that I couldn't see clearly. No UK plates yet.

It surprises me a little that you have seen N (Norway) before NL (Netherlands).  And although the official distinguishing sign for the United Kingdom is now UK, I'm betting you will still see GB.

Almost no air conditioning during a heat wave. Saves significantly on electricity, and I don't think 38° days (previously forecast 40°) are common. Humidity is low, though.

I've experienced hot and humid days in Paris in late summer.  I don't know how common this has become in northern Europe yet, but in southern Europe (Greece and Spain) bedrooms routinely have room A/C units.

Airport: French, English, can't tell whether it's Japanese or Chinese

I would have guessed Japanese on the basis of decades of First World status with visa-free entry to northern European countries.  However, a Google Images search of CDG interior signs suggests Chinese.  Exit is "出口" (also used on exit tabs and in distance expressions of the form "Exit 1 km" on Chinese expressway signs) and baggage begins with "行李" (the full phrase has more characters that I suspect are a Chinese translation for carousel; the British English phrase would be baggage reclaim).  Japanese uses the same characters for exit but "荷物" for baggage.
Title: Re: Trip to Paris and London
Post by: 1 on June 18, 2022, 05:11:16 PM
Day 1 wasn't complete. It is now.

We had to move from the Airbnb (which was under construction anyway) to a 3-star hotel in the 1e arrondissement because someone else (part of the reason of the trip, can't give details lest I reveal myself) was afraid that my mother wouldn't be safe in the heat. He's paying for it. The hotel does have air conditioning. We ate dinner at a place that actually had surprisingly low prices (lower than home for some items despite being in the centre of Paris).

More road-related observations:

Not road-related:
Title: Re: Trip to Paris and London
Post by: tdindy88 on June 18, 2022, 09:21:58 PM
I am literally one week away from my own trip to both Paris and London. This will be my first time in Paris but I have traveled to London before so my visit there will be to other areas within England. Right now the weather is looking very nice next weekend into the following week. Needless to say I will be reading this thread with much interest.
Title: Re: Trip to Paris and London
Post by: CNGL-Leudimin on June 19, 2022, 06:33:55 AM
Tip: Order a "caraffe d'eau" instead of bottled water. You should get tap water at no charge. I did this in Bordeaux a few years ago.

Also, nice to see someone in my time zone, even though only temporarily :sombrero:.
Title: Re: Trip to Paris and London
Post by: kphoger on June 20, 2022, 09:32:33 AM
  • How are the no standing and no parking signs supposed to be naturally intuitive?

I agree.
Title: Re: Trip to Paris and London
Post by: 1 on June 20, 2022, 11:12:40 AM
Day 2: I can't say much to avoid revealing who I am. However, I saw Saint-Chapelle, the Arc de Triomphe and its 12-exit roundabout and clinched A3. (Yes, I know they're on opposite sides.)

Day 3 (not over yet): We went to the Louvre. It turns out the main exit puts you in the middle of an underground mall.

What are your opinions on the two-tone emergency sirens in Europe vs. American emergency sirens? At first, I thought the interval between the two tones indicated what type of emergency vehicle it was, but that's not actually the case.

I've seen two pharmacies (easily identifiable by the green + sign) that had hilariously wrong dates: 24/12/2029 and 18/01/2011.

Still haven't been charged anything that's not in increments of 0,1€.
Title: Re: Trip to Paris and London
Post by: J N Winkler on June 20, 2022, 11:58:06 AM
How are the no standing and no parking signs supposed to be naturally intuitive?

I wouldn't claim they could be understood in full without study in advance, but I think the crossed slashes on the no-stopping sign help underscore the higher level of restriction.

I still haven't seen a stop sign yet, except at customs inside the airport where it was obviously not meant for vehicles.

Some countries, like the UK, do not allow stop signs to be used for priority control in the absence of a non-removable visual obstruction.  I can't tell if France has a similar restriction, but the interministerial instruction that covers traffic signing (http://www.equipementsdelaroute.developpement-durable.gouv.fr/versions-consolidees-des-9-parties-de-l-a528.html) does note that stop signs and traffic signals require a higher level of authorization--for example, if the device is used on the centrally maintained road network, the prefect of the dιpartement must sign off.
Title: Re: Trip to Paris and London
Post by: 1 on June 22, 2022, 04:45:29 AM
Rest of Day 3: We went to the Tuileries after going back to the hotel.

Day 4: There's a hop-on-hop-off Seine river cruise tour, so we did that, getting off at the Alexander III bridge at one point and as a coin collector, going to a coin museum. No new numbered routes, as we were near the centre the entire time, and there are no numbered routes inside the Pιriphιrique.

Day 5 (in progress): As I type this, I'm at Gare du Nord, past customs, waiting for the Eurostar train to London. There is a railroad strike in the UK from the 21st to the 25th, announced well in advance; it only partially disrupts things instead of stopping them entirely.

New plates seen: BG, Switzerland (has a flag instead of letters), I motorcycle (previously saw I commercial vehicle

Most French restaurants seem to be similar: if you want to order water without paying, you get a carafe (as CNGL-Leudimin said), and bread (baguette slices?) comes with the meal. They have the credit card scanners that I previously saw in Canada and really should spread to the United States. I didn't go to any foreign cuisine places except one Italian, so I don't know if it works the same way at those places.

I was expecting things to be more expensive, but overall, they were actually slightly cheaper. Meals for 13€ after tax (before tip, but tips are much less outside the US) are common, and there are even some for 10€. My guess is that 1€ was significantly more than US$1 until recently (it was 1€=US$1.04 right before we left), and somehow the exchange rates converged toward 1:1 despite the US having more inflation than the EU, meaning that European things are underpriced. (If these numbers look expensive to you, keep in mind that I'm comparing to prices in Massachusetts, not the US average.)

I thought meal sizes were smaller outside the US, especially after getting a C$3 (≈US$2.25) ice cream that was pretty small a few years ago, but that does not seem to be the case in France. The Lebanese ice cream we got (Lebanon speaks French) was 4,3€ for two scoops, which were quite large for a two-scoop ice cream like most in the US. Additionally, one of the Italian places we saw had their steak at 250g, which is about 9 oz; many steaks in the US are 6. However, as I type this, there is counter-evidence; there is coffee with two sizes at 20 cL and 33 cL (at 5,1€ and 5,6€, although we're through customs at a train station), smaller than in the US.

Based on what we've been told about the B&B in London, the "three passcodes to get into a residential building" thing isn't present, unlike in Paris.

Question: What does it mean if a van or lorry has circles numbered 80, 90, and 100, or something similar? They look like "this vehicle doesn't drive faster than this speed", but that doesn't make sense with more than one number on the same vehicle.
Title: Re: Trip to Paris and London
Post by: CNGL-Leudimin on June 22, 2022, 08:34:07 AM
Yep, they mean what you think. They may have more than one to account for different types of roads and even countries.
Title: Re: Trip to Paris and London
Post by: webny99 on June 22, 2022, 11:27:20 AM
I thought meal sizes were smaller outside the US, especially after getting a C$3 (≈US$2.25) ice cream that was pretty small a few years ago, but that does not seem to be the case in France. The Lebanese ice cream we got (Lebanon speaks French) was 4,3€ for two scoops, which were quite large for a two-scoop ice cream like most in the US. Additionally, one of the Italian places we saw had their steak at 250g, which is about 9 oz; many steaks in the US are 6. However, as I type this, there is counter-evidence; there is coffee with two sizes at 20 cL and 33 cL (at 5,1€ and 5,6€, although we're through customs at a train station), smaller than in the US.

I thought so too, but from what I understand, it applies to drinks more than food. My relatives from the UK thought our soft drink sizes were massive compared to theirs. Without measurements, they thought a small drink from Wendy's was about as big as their large.

For interest, 20 cL = 6.7 fl. oz and 33 cL = 11.2 fl. oz, which would definitely support this, since 12 fl. oz. would be a small in the US.



Question: What does it mean if a van or lorry has circles numbered 80, 90, and 100, or something similar? They look like "this vehicle doesn't drive faster than this speed", but that doesn't make sense with more than one number on the same vehicle.

Yep, they mean what you think. They may have more than one to account for different types of roads and even countries.

Interesting. How do you know which one applies to which circumstance?
Title: Re: Trip to Paris and London
Post by: kphoger on June 22, 2022, 11:42:32 AM

Yep, they mean what you think. They may have more than one to account for different types of roads and even countries.

Interesting. How do you know which one applies to which circumstance?

I'm no expert on the matter, but my understanding is that the stickers only apply to the country in which the vehicle is registered.  So, if a truck has three stickers on the back, then they might refer to the speed limits for non-priority roads, priority roads, and motorways in the country of registration.  If it has four on the back, then they might refer to non-priority roads, single-carriageway priority roads, non-motorway expressways, and motorways in the country of registration.  If they only have two stickers, then they might refer to non-motorway roads and motorways in the country of registration.  It all depends on the rules in that country.
Title: Re: Trip to Paris and London
Post by: vdeane on June 22, 2022, 12:42:21 PM
They have the credit card scanners that I previously saw in Canada and really should spread to the United States.
Allegedly a big part of why we're chip and sign in the US instead of chip and PIN is because restaurants here refuse to adopt those machines and insist on continuing to take customer cards to a central register.
Title: Re: Trip to Paris and London
Post by: abefroman329 on June 22, 2022, 12:48:58 PM
They have the credit card scanners that I previously saw in Canada and really should spread to the United States.
Allegedly a big part of why we're chip and sign in the US instead of chip and PIN is because restaurants here refuse to adopt those machines and insist on continuing to take customer cards to a central register.
It is absolutely true that any business in the US that doesn't use chip/contactless technology, is doing so because the business has refused to obtain devices that will read chip/contactless cards.  And, having worked for a credit card company, it seems ludicrous that they don't, since the merchant has to eat the cost of fraudulent transactions, and it's near-impossible, if not impossible, to clone a chip card.
Title: Re: Trip to Paris and London
Post by: J N Winkler on June 22, 2022, 01:07:13 PM
To add to the discussion of stickers:  unless things have changed in the last ten years or so, there is a 90 km/h (= 56 MPH) limit for buses and lorries that is mandated by EU directive and thus applies throughout the whole EU.
Title: Re: Trip to Paris and London
Post by: vdeane on June 22, 2022, 01:10:05 PM
They have the credit card scanners that I previously saw in Canada and really should spread to the United States.
Allegedly a big part of why we're chip and sign in the US instead of chip and PIN is because restaurants here refuse to adopt those machines and insist on continuing to take customer cards to a central register.
It is absolutely true that any business in the US that doesn't use chip/contactless technology, is doing so because the business has refused to obtain devices that will read chip/contactless cards.  And, having worked for a credit card company, it seems ludicrous that they don't, since the merchant has to eat the cost of fraudulent transactions, and it's near-impossible, if not impossible, to clone a chip card.
Who was talking about businesses still swiping cards in this thread?  I was talking about why you have to sign your name when using the chip in this country rather than entering a PIN, as most of the rest of the world does it (including Europe and Canada, which is why US cards don't work well at unattended kiosks in those places).  We were discussing the different methods of running cards at restaurants - in the US, the waiter takes you card from you to a central register, where they process the transaction (whether it's chip and sign or swipe and sign or tapping doesn't make a difference here) and then bring your card back with additional receipts, on which you write in the tip.  In the rest of the world, the waiter brings a mobile card reader to you, where you enter the tip percent, insert your card, and enter your PIN.  At no point does your card leave your possession.

The really ludicrous part?  I've actually seen the Euro/Canada mobile readers in the US, but they're inevitably taped down to a table and used the same as the old swipe attachments to the registers were.
Title: Re: Trip to Paris and London
Post by: CNGL-Leudimin on June 22, 2022, 03:17:38 PM
To add to the discussion of stickers:  unless things have changed in the last ten years or so, there is a 90 km/h (= 56 MPH) limit for buses and lorries that is mandated by EU directive and thus applies throughout the whole EU.

Ahem... buses can run 100 km/h (about 62 mph) on motorways in Spain. And unlike the UK we are still in the EU.
Title: Re: Trip to Paris and London
Post by: J N Winkler on June 22, 2022, 03:42:17 PM
Ahem... buses can run 100 km/h (about 62 mph) on motorways in Spain. And unlike the UK we are still in the EU.

Is this information current?

https://cga.ct.gov/2005/rpt/2005-R-0814.htm

It says there is a 90 km/h speed limiter requirement that applies to buses that can carry more than 8 passengers and have maximum authorized masses of more than 10 T as well as lorries with MAMs of more than 3.5 T.
Title: Re: Trip to Paris and London
Post by: kphoger on June 22, 2022, 03:45:38 PM

Ahem... buses can run 100 km/h (about 62 mph) on motorways in Spain. And unlike the UK we are still in the EU.

Is this information current?

https://cga.ct.gov/2005/rpt/2005-R-0814.htm

It says there is a 90 km/h speed limiter requirement that applies to buses that can carry more than 8 passengers and have maximum authorized masses of more than 10 T as well as lorries with MAMs of more than 3.5 T.

Here's a much better site for you:

https://trip.studentnews.eu/s/4086/77069-Buses-standard-speed-limits-in-Europe.htm
Title: Re: Trip to Paris and London
Post by: kphoger on June 22, 2022, 03:47:31 PM
Actually, you might find this one more authoritative:

https://ec.europa.eu/transport/road_safety/going_abroad/spain/speed_limits_en.htm
Title: Re: Trip to Paris and London
Post by: J N Winkler on June 22, 2022, 04:01:01 PM
Here's a much better site for you:

https://trip.studentnews.eu/s/4086/77069-Buses-standard-speed-limits-in-Europe.htm

Actually, you might find this one more authoritative:

https://ec.europa.eu/transport/road_safety/going_abroad/spain/speed_limits_en.htm

I found both sites in a casual Google search.  I'm interested in whether the 90 km/h limiter requirement still applies to buses.  If it does, then it would seem the ability to go faster than that when permitted by national legislation is limited to buses to which the limiter requirement does not apply for one reason or another, such as the bus being registered outside the EU.

BTW, Germany actually limits trucks to 80 km/h on the Autobahn (10 km/h slower than the mandated limiter setting).
Title: Re: Trip to Paris and London
Post by: 1 on June 23, 2022, 03:01:03 PM
Rest of Day 5: We took the Eurostar train to London, getting my farthest east and north points as described in that thread. Trafalgar Square was on the way to the B&B, so we saw it (although it was under construction). At the end of that day, we saw Back to the Future: The Musical, which was much cheaper than it would have been on Broadway (£19.55 for back section seats, likely £19.95 if it was any other musical, and even the back wasn't that far back). As many roads in and near the centre of London are numbered, I have traveled A4 and A400.

Day 6: A bus tour for certain parts of London. The first stop was Buckingham Palace, the second was St Paul's Cathedral, and the third was the Tower of London. This also included a boat on the Thames. We also paid for the London Eye, so we got to do that. New routes traveled: A3, A40, A100, A200, A302, A3212, A3213, A3214, A3215 (clinched) (why isn't this on Travel Mapping, or did Google Maps make something up)

Differences between the US, Paris, and London, and which I like better:

I have over 10000 posts, and this is the first time I've gotten a "you posted less than 15 seconds ago" message.
Title: Re: Trip to Paris and London
Post by: 1 on June 24, 2022, 01:36:22 AM
My Paris photos have been uploaded to Flickr. They don't have descriptions yet; I'm adding them now.
Title: Re: Trip to Paris and London
Post by: 1 on June 24, 2022, 02:09:00 AM
Road/sign photos first, then two non-road photos at the end. Clicking these photos will enlarge them without opening a new browser window.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/52169032658_ea171c0d7e_k.jpg)

Taken at a time when I thought those that weren't multiples of 10 km/h were rare.
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/52169265064_5cc47d21e4_k.jpg)

Maritime signs, but close enough
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/52167996772_1abb79aa9f_k.jpg)

Signals, but close enough, right? Also, what does the + sign mean? Right on red allowed?
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/52169012601_ff26e3b675_k.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/52169012126_7a312e298f_k.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/52167987177_4fc0c8435b_k.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/52169016623_0accfbc0a1_k.jpg)

And my favorite photo of all the ones I've taken (I could buy it for 2800€, but I won't):
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/52169031988_811cb29a06_k.jpg)

Another of my favorite non-road photos, showing water marks during floods (just watch out for fake marks, especially post-2015)
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/52167998707_9043345fe9_k.jpg)
Title: Re: Trip to Paris and London
Post by: 1 on June 24, 2022, 10:28:37 AM
Day 7: British Museum. The day is not over yet, but my mother is worried about walking too much. I might walk around outside by myself.

Title: Re: Trip to Paris and London
Post by: J N Winkler on June 24, 2022, 12:22:46 PM
The Tube is expensive. It's £2.50 minimum — this means using an Oyster Pass (not tourist prices) and within Zone 1. For comparison, in Paris, a ticket in the innermost zone is 1,90€ (about 1/3 cheaper) without getting cheaper tickets. Trains are much more frequent than what I'm used to in the US, though.

London prices are silly in general.  I don't know if this holds true after several rounds of cost overruns, but it used to be said that the Tube has the capability to fund infrastructure renewal and expansion by borrowing on the strength of farebox revenues.

I haven't seen a non-UK licence plate in the UK yet. Also, what's the difference between the plain white plates, the plain yellow plates, the ones with the country code on them, and the ones with a green rectangle where the (blue) country code label would be?

AIUI, a numberplate is compliant as long as it is white in front, yellow in back, with letters and numbers in the blocky typeface that is prescribed in official regulations, or covered by a grandfather clause.  In the UK, unlike the US, numberplates are not provided by the government.  The vehicle keeper (the UK also does not use automobile titles) merely receives entitlement to put plates with a certain number on the vehicle, and it becomes his or her responsibility to ensure the plates are fabricated according to regulations and placed on the vehicle.  Typically, new cars are purchased at the dealer with the numberplates already applied and keep them for life; dealer plates basically don't exist in the UK.

I think color strips on one side were, and perhaps still are, a matter of owner option.  Back when Britain was still in the EU, the so-called "Euro-style" plate allowed the vehicle keeper to dispense with the nationality oval when going abroad.  This is the design with the blue strip on left that has the 12 stars in a circle and "GB" beneath.  I don't know what the current rules are after Brexit.

Until about 20 years ago, vehicle owners were under no legal obligation to use the official typeface.  When many attempted to evade speeding camera penalty charge notices by having plates made with almost unreadable script fonts, use of the official typeface became a legal requirement.

There are basically two passenger car plate formats in current use:  a long strip with the entire number on one line (similar to the rest of Europe), and another that fits in basically the same size envelope as Western Hemisphere license plates, with the number broken across two lines.  The latter format is typically used for foreign vehicles that are registered in the UK for one reason or another, e.g. US Embassy vehicles brought over from the US rather than bought locally, or vehicles imported from abroad using the Single Vehicle Import process.

I don't think I've ever seen a vehicle with a non-UK plate in London, though I've seen vehicles with US plates (including one from Maryland) on the rural motorway network, and occasionally cars with Dutch plates in urban Oxford.  London is a very unforgiving environment for auto touring for reasons that go well beyond traffic and parking, such as the Red Routes, the congestion charge, and now the Low Emission Zone.

(N.B.  The foregoing is a simplification that doesn't get into aspects such as registration year, number auctions--e.g., if you want "5MART" for your car, you typically have to buy the entitlement to use that number at auction--or separate number pools for Great Britain and Northern Ireland, which are completely separate jurisdictions for road traffic purposes.)

Where are the police boxes? Are they fiction only?

Per Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Police_box), they are now largely retired, though there are examples in museums and there apparently is or has been one just outside Earls Court Tube station as a tourist attraction.
Title: Re: Trip to Paris and London
Post by: abefroman329 on June 24, 2022, 12:45:35 PM
  • Paris rounds to the nearest 0,10€. London uses 1p coins. I prefer Paris's approach.
And 2p coins.  And you can't use 1p/2p coins on buses.  And you're gonna piss off the shopkeeper royally if you try to make a purchase of something that costs, say, ₤1 using 1p/2p coins only.
  • Ground floor is 0 in Paris and G in London. I prefer Paris's approach, although I'm undecided on US vs. Europe on which floor should be the first floor.
The European model (also used at Heathrow) seems the most intuitive.  Floor -1, -2, etc. makes sense without having a good grasp of the language, whereas B1, B2 (or, worse, P1, P2) isn't intuitive at all.
  • red and amber
For some reason, I have it in my head that this is the case because of the number of vehicles with standard transmissions (the brief red/amber phase allows you to get prepared to go on green), but I don't know if that's true or where I got it from.
Title: Re: Trip to Paris and London
Post by: kphoger on June 24, 2022, 03:17:21 PM

red and amber

For some reason, I have it in my head that this is the case because of the number of vehicles with standard transmissions (the brief red/amber phase allows you to get prepared to go on green), but I don't know if that's true or where I got it from.

I've always heard that too, and the idea is ubiquitous on the internet.  However, I've never seen anyone try and cite a source saying that's the reason.
Title: Re: Trip to Paris and London
Post by: abefroman329 on June 24, 2022, 03:31:48 PM

red and amber

For some reason, I have it in my head that this is the case because of the number of vehicles with standard transmissions (the brief red/amber phase allows you to get prepared to go on green), but I don't know if that's true or where I got it from.

I've always heard that too, and the idea is ubiquitous on the internet.  However, I've never seen anyone try and cite a source saying that's the reason.
Well, I'm relieved to learn I didn't just pull that out of my ass...

I did find this, which is far from an authoritative source, but it suggests that the red/amber phase started with railways signals, which...makes sense

https://h2g2.com/edited_entry/A9559407
Title: Re: Trip to Paris and London
Post by: kphoger on June 24, 2022, 03:38:19 PM
I did find this, which is far from an authoritative source, but it suggests that the red/amber phase started with railways signals, which...makes sense

https://h2g2.com/edited_entry/A9559407

It also says that the phase was introduced in 1958.  It would be nice to see some source material from back then.
Title: Re: Trip to Paris and London
Post by: kphoger on June 24, 2022, 05:01:02 PM


I did find this, which is far from an authoritative source, but it suggests that the red/amber phase started with railways signals, which...makes sense

https://h2g2.com/edited_entry/A9559407

It also says that the phase was introduced in 1958.  It would be nice to see some source material from back then.

There may be source material that is not in English which may have never been translated or otherwise adapted for English searches.

Why?  It's the year that the phase is claimed to have been added to British stoplights.
Title: Re: Trip to Paris and London
Post by: J N Winkler on June 24, 2022, 05:07:25 PM
Regarding the red-and-amber phase, which practitioners call "starting amber," I have a copy of a 1999 DETR publication, A History of British Traffic Signs (circulated as photocopy only), that says elimination of starting amber was considered and rejected in the 1930's and in 1962.  That suggests this phase has been part of the operation of British traffic signals since the first guidance was published in 1929.  There is also a report from authors affiliated with TRL (https://studylib.net/doc/18129045/review-of-the-red-to-green-sequence-at-traffic) that mentions research into starting amber conducted in 1959.

As traffic signals are considered traffic signs in the UK, there are regulations from 1933, 1957, 1964, 1975, 1981, 1994, 2002, and 2016 that establish or established the framework for signal phasing during their respective periods of being in force.  Unfortunately, those earlier than 1994 do not appear (yet) to have been scanned and made available through the British government's legislation lookup site (https://www.legislation.gov.uk/).
Title: Re: Trip to Paris and London
Post by: 1 on June 26, 2022, 01:46:40 AM
Rest of Day 7: A walk by myself to the Millennium Bridge and back. There were two cup game setups on the Westminster Bridge. It's illegal here too, right?

Day 8: Coach tour to Windsor Castle, Stonehenge, lunch in Lacock, and Bath. (The UK only uses the term "bus" for the shorter ones like city buses.) We saw part of the changing of the guard from outside at Windsor Castle (if we saw it inside, we wouldn't make it back in time because they close the gates for the duration), and Bath Abbey (entered at about 5:20 PM) was in the middle of a rehearsal for a 7:00 classical music concert for the Queen's Platinum Jubilee. We went to a UAE restaurant after the trip because it was right at the dropoff point.

New routes traveled (listed once each only): M4, A355, A332, A308 (overlap only), A322, M3, A303, A345, B3086, A360, A361, A350, A3039, A46

Thoughts on roads:

Other observations:
Title: Re: Trip to Paris and London
Post by: 1 on June 26, 2022, 04:44:47 AM
I uploaded 19 London photos to Flickr, 11 of which are road-related. Unlike Paris, I didn't upload every one I took.

Some of my favourites:

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/52173979665_c70f9d8a0f_k.jpg)

Bike route, telling you how many minutes it takes to bike to various places. Also bike signals. I made sure to take the photo during the red and amber phase.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/52172471012_b78f3c7b88_k.jpg)

Near Trafalgar Square and the Theatre District, some of the green pedestrian signals have pro-LGBT symbols instead of typical walking people. There are various designs. Pride Month is the same as it is in the UK as it is in the US, except the parade is 2 July. (Paris didn't notice that it's Pride Month at all.)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/52173504358_90c800e1a2_k.jpg)

Clock section of the British Museum.
Directly from the Flickr description: There's a steel ball rolling down the winding path. Every 30 seconds, it reaches the end, which causes the board to flip over and get the ball rolling the other way. Every 1-minute cycle, the minute hand moves.
Title: Re: Trip to Paris and London
Post by: 1 on June 28, 2022, 02:35:04 PM
Day 9: My mother needed to rest, so I went to the Natural History Museum by myself.
Day 10: A train trip to Wales for a VIP tour to the Royal Mint. New roads traveled (by taxi): A4222, A473, A4119.
Day 11 (today): London Transport Museum (which covers pretty much everything except cars), Royal College of Music Museum (two rooms, but still really cool), and the Victoria and Albert Museum that was right next to the music museum.

I have already updated travelmapping.net, but I will not submit it until my trip is over. While I haven't looked at everything, it appears that I'll be the first on a specific segment of A332 — a bit surprising, since there's a popular coach tour that goes that way (that's how I took it).

I will update my list on the transit routes traveled thread when my trip finishes.
Title: Re: Trip to Paris and London
Post by: english si on June 28, 2022, 05:13:27 PM
  • License plates seen: F (obviously), N, B, D, E, I, and a two-letter one that I couldn't see clearly. No UK plates yet.
It's highly unlikely you'd see UK plates on a journey from CDG to Central Paris.
1) UK expats living in the area would get a car with the wheel on the other side.
2) From the UK, there's no reason to drive via Paris unless going there - and you would go there by train or plane.

A3215 (clinched) (why isn't this on Travel Mapping, or did Google Maps make something up)
1 point per interchange. The A3215 is basically a one-way entrance onto a circulatory junction.

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House numbers in London don't follow the even/odd rule, which I dislike. I believe Paris followed it.
Don't they? They typically do - it's only short cul-de-sacs in suburbia that tend to use sequential numbering rather than evens on one side, odds on the other. I guess if every building is on one side, it might be sequential rather than odds vs evens.

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Paris had nearly everything in multiple languages (or pictograms). London, while still having a decent number of pictograms, is pretty much only in English except in certain museums. As soon as I got out of the Eurostar region of the train station, it was English only.
The French use multiple languages prominently because
1) they don't speak the linga franca anymore and so people are not necessarily going to understand
2) they don't want to admit that English is the linga franca, so they add several other languages as well

The UK doesn't typically do up-front foreign languages because its not normally a problem - almost everyone visiting can read English to a reasonable enough level. Places set up to deal with confused tourists will have staff able to speak a variety of common languages, and anything where implementation is pretty easy (eg via a computer) is multi-lingual - ticket machines, ordering fast food, etc.

The French is mostly there at St Pancras mostly as a marketing thing, and ego-stroking of Frenchie (like the relaying everything in French at international events like Eurovision).

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The UK has quite a lot of LGBTQ pride celebrations, such as many flags, a restaurant that sold two of the same drink for £8 each, and even some of the pedestrian walk signals (green only) in and near Trafalgar Square being various pro-LGBT symbols. However, the parade is 2 July, which is outside US pride month...
They just swapped out most of the Union Jacks for Jubilee with pride flags and so this year there's more than previous years' pride months as the flag poles and strings and stuff were all in place.

The Trafalgar Square green men-that-aren't-green-men are permanent - someone paid to put them there about a decade ago and they've been there ever since.

Way too much photo enforcement. There are average speed checks, and 50 mph is really slow for the M4 just outside M25. It was under construction, but there were no active workers.
It's nearly done, and the limits are also due to the narrowed lanes and barriers by the road (also those works have involved works where workmen wouldn't be easily seen when travelling through). Automatic camera enforcement is inevitable with the UK police - the alternative is near-zero enforcement as their hands are tied, priorities elsewhere, etc.

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Unlike Paris, which had six types of fuel, England only has two: petrol and diesel.
England will have two types of petrol (regular and super unleaded), but only display the price of the regular unleaded. I'm struggling to see 6 types of fuel in France, though LPG is still a thing there, whereas here it was a fad with the drivers wanting to be greener moving onto hybrid and electric-only cars. I'm guessing different levels of ethanol / biofuel cutting the petrol / diesel, giving more choice.

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What happened to legal tender laws? A decent number (1/6?) of places have gone cashless due to COVID-19. This includes sit-down restaurants, and I believe legal tender laws are the same in the UK as in the US (i.e. if you receive service before paying, they must accept legal tender).
"Legal tender has a narrow technical meaning which has no use in everyday life. It means that if you offer to fully pay off a debt to someone in legal tender, they can’t sue you for failing to repay." (https://www.bankofengland.co.uk/knowledgebank/what-is-legal-tender) They don't have to accept it, they just can't sue you for non-payment.

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People really love putting American banknotes in tip boxes in London. Much more than euros. (This isn't unique to London; this was the case in Quebec City and Paris, too.)
Tip jars aren't a European thing. They are there for American tourists...

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I was (jokingly, as if all places with the same name are the same) thinking about getting to my home in the US without flying overseas. My first thought was London → Manchester → home. But London to Reading is closer. Then I saw that Plaistow was a stop on the Tube (closer to London than Reading is), and Plaistow is less than half an hour from my home in the US.
You'll have gone past Reading on the M4 on the way back from Bath. And through it on the train to Wales. Plaistow isn't worth bothering with other than to get a photo of the sign.

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I've seen a whole bunch of foreign flags in London. I've seen Uganda, Singapore, Malaysia, Libya, Ukraine (what do you expect), South Korea, and I'm probably missing some. For comparison, the only foreign non-Ukraine flag I saw in Paris was Czechia.
Embassies/High Commissions, presumably. Especially when I look at the geography of where those ones are.

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Speaking of flags, there are many more UK flags than English flags. When I was in Paris, France and EU flags were seen at about equal frequency.
English flag is only usually for when the World Cup/Euros are on. UK flags would most likely be Jubilee-related, as there's not normally many at all to be many more than the near-zero English flags.

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Near Bath, there were a whole bunch of sheep. The tour guide said Wales (which we were near) had more sheep than people; I'm not sure if that's actually true.
Its very much true - 9.5 million sheep is thrice the 3.1 million people.

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(edited after initial post) France only requires 1m social distancing on signs. It's 2m in the UK. (Not that it gets followed.)
It was 1m+ with masks when they came in. The legal restrictions disappeared a year ago now, with government recommendations going a bit more gradually since but the signs have been kept up due to some people getting very upset if you don't have them up.

I haven't seen a non-UK licence plate in the UK yet. Also, what's the difference between the plain white plates, the plain yellow plates, the ones with the country code on them, and the ones with a green rectangle where the (blue) country code label would be?
Unless its Sunday or Monday (thanks German trucking bans), you should see some Eastern European ones on trucks on the major motorways (but if you were in a coach, you wouldn't be passing trucks much). And in tourist locations where people drive to it, foreign cars should be there.

White at the front, yellow at the back. The green rectangle is for fully electric cars. The country code blue-band is optional, though you'd need a sticker if abroad without it. GB-Eurobands were default on UK number plates for a few years, but having the band there stopped being the default thing (even a Union Flag one) about 3 or 4 years ago.

I'll be the first on a specific segment of A332 — a bit surprising, since there's a popular coach tour that goes that way (that's how I took it).
As the person with the most travels in England, I don't have need for a coach tour. I also imagine that TravelMappers who've visited the UK tend to have their own wheels, and wouldn't go Windsor->Stonehenge direct as it's an odd route.

I haven't travelled it, nor see any natural reason to beyond "because I chose to". Parallel routes are more useful to get to the destinations at the south end - hence why I've not done it.
Title: Re: Trip to Paris and London
Post by: tdindy88 on June 28, 2022, 05:24:25 PM
  • License plates seen: F (obviously), N, B, D, E, I, and a two-letter one that I couldn't see clearly. No UK plates yet.
It's highly unlikely you'd see UK plates on a journey from CDG to Central Paris.
1) UK expats living in the area would get a car with the wheel on the other side.
2) From the UK, there's no reason to drive via Paris unless going there - and you would go there by train or plane.

This is interesting as I'm in Paris right now and will be en route to England on Thursday. I did a lot of walking the streets today and did see one car that sure enough had a UK license plate. It was a yellow plate on the back which I noticed wasn't a French thing. Steering wheel was on the right side too. I reckon this is a fairly rare occurrence then?

Speaking of French plates, it's interesting that they seem to have the (department?) logo on the sides with a number code which I guess corresponds to a subdivision of the department. In Paris most plates have the Ile-de-France logos with the number 75 on them, I guess designating them as from Paris proper.
Title: Re: Trip to Paris and London
Post by: english si on June 28, 2022, 05:55:53 PM
I reckon this is a fairly rare occurrence then?
I'm not someone who know the streets of Paris well, but there's no reason why UK plates would be likely to see on a trip between the Airport and central Paris - they are around, but they aren't going to be common. Walking around and you increase the likelihood of seeing less-common plates.

When I went to Dublin a month ago, I saw lots of local (Dublin and the surrounding counties) plates on the journey into the city. Walking around the city, I missed only Leitrim (a tiny county the other side of the country) - the less common counties were around, but less common. I saw a few GB plates, more NI plates, and even a Manx plate. Not many European plates (a couple), but that was understandable as driving is not going to be the common way to get there (eg there were a lot of French families in the hotel, didn't see a single French plate).

(and, yes, 75 is Paris-proper - it's the number French drivers give a wide berth!)
Title: Re: Trip to Paris and London
Post by: 1 on June 29, 2022, 01:59:45 AM
The list of plates I saw included those found when walking around, not just on the airport journey.

By the way, tdindy88 can post here like I have. This is not exclusively my thread.

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People really love putting American banknotes in tip boxes in London. Much more than euros. (This isn't unique to London; this was the case in Quebec City and Paris, too.)
Tip jars aren't a European thing. They are there for American tourists...

I should have clarified: this also applies to "suggested donation" boxes in free museums.

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Unless its Sunday or Monday (thanks German trucking bans), you should see some Eastern European ones on trucks on the major motorways (but if you were in a coach, you wouldn't be passing trucks much). And in tourist locations where people drive to it, foreign cars should be there.

After I made that post, I saw D plates on long-distance coaches in the Stonehenge car park.

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House numbers in London don't follow the even/odd rule, which I dislike. I believe Paris followed it.
Don't they? They typically do - it's only short cul-de-sacs in suburbia that tend to use sequential numbering rather than evens on one side, odds on the other. I guess if every building is on one side, it might be sequential rather than odds vs evens.

I was looking at Northumberland Avenue near Trafalgar Square, where 18-23 all appear to be on the same side, as well as 31 and 32.
Title: Re: Trip to Paris and London
Post by: english si on June 29, 2022, 05:20:41 AM
I should have clarified: this also applies to "suggested donation" boxes in free museums.
The ones that normally have a 'tap your contactless card to donate £5' next to it? Americans don't tend to have the cards to be able to do that, whereas Europeans do.

Also, they are basically tip boxes - Europeans don't do them. They'll do a donation at the entrance/exit, but not in individual galleries.
Title: Re: Trip to Paris and London
Post by: tdindy88 on June 29, 2022, 11:41:33 AM
By the way, tdindy88 can post here like I have. This is not exclusively my thread.

Thanks man. I hope I wasn't hijacking the thread with anything. Essentially I'm a few days behind you so I'm checking off the list of all the things you had already mentioned about Paris. And I take the Eurostar to Britain tomorrow morning for ten days in the UK.
Title: Re: Trip to Paris and London
Post by: ethanhopkin14 on June 30, 2022, 10:09:19 AM
I don't think I've ever seen a vehicle with a non-UK plate in London, though I've seen vehicles with US plates (including one from Maryland) on the rural motorway network, and occasionally cars with Dutch plates in urban Oxford.  London is a very unforgiving environment for auto touring for reasons that go well beyond traffic and parking, such as the Red Routes, the congestion charge, and now the Low Emission Zone.

I found out about the congestion charge a few years back by getting a ticket while driving through central London.  It was awesome since that same rental car was stolen from me on that trip.  It was kind of salt in an open wound.
Title: Re: Trip to Paris and London
Post by: 1 on June 30, 2022, 11:41:54 AM
Day 12: Westminster Abbey and Science Museum. Along the way, I saw a pro-EU/anti-Brexit protest.
Day 13 (last day): Seeing the Changing of the Guard. I'm at the airport now.

Title: Re: Trip to Paris and London
Post by: kphoger on June 30, 2022, 12:25:25 PM
Multiple places have had fries. Is there a difference between chips and fries?

My general, limited understanding is that chips are typically what we Americans might call "steak fries".
Title: Re: Trip to Paris and London
Post by: webny99 on June 30, 2022, 12:30:43 PM
  • Multiple places have had fries. Is there a difference between chips and fries?

Well, it turns out that the always-trustworthy Wikipedia says basically everything that I was going to say. Note the bolded statement in particular.

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In the United States and most of Canada, the term french fries, sometimes capitalised as French fries, or shortened to fries, refers to all dishes of fried elongated pieces of potatoes. Variants in shape and size may have names such as curly fries, shoestring fries, etc. In the United Kingdom, Australia, South Africa, Ireland and New Zealand, the term chips is generally used instead, though thinly cut fried potatoes are sometimes called french fries or skinny fries, to distinguish them from chips, which are cut thicker. In the US or Canada these more thickly-cut chips might be called steak fries, depending on the shape. The word chips is more often used in North America to refer to potato chips, known in the UK and Ireland as crisps.
Title: Re: Trip to Paris and London
Post by: english si on June 30, 2022, 04:24:15 PM
Along the way, I saw a pro-EU/anti-Brexit protest.
Was there one? The only thing I can think of is that flag-shagging Euro-nationalist and paid protester Steve Bray had his megaphone taken away from him after 6 years of shouting abuse and "Stop Brexit" (even after the UK had exited the EU) near-constantly around Westminster, leading to his mates coming out to protest that his boorish and aggressive bigotry should be amplified.
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The Tube doesn't run overnight. Given that Rothman faulted Boston for not doing so, why is a much more major city doing the same?
It does run overnight, but only Fridays and Saturday nights (ie early hours of Saturday and Sunday mornings) on limited lines. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Night_Tube

As for why - most of the system is over a century old, if not older and hasn't yet been fully modernised. Engineering works are a big barrier, as is routine maintenance and cleaning that happens in the 4 or 5 hours between last train and first train. Throw in staffing issues and getting the initial Night Tube service running was quite something.

Additionally, while in North America, the NYC 24-7 system is very influential, its not so much in Europe. As such it's only newer, fully automatic, systems like Copenhagen that are 24-7. London (Anglosphere, competing for top global city) mostly has Night Tube in an attempt to emulate the then mayor's (now PM's) place of birth.

Furthermore, London wants to not have people waiting long for trains and needs any service additions need to be OK wrt subsidy (tube making an operational profit for most of the 2010s helped fund a lot of the other TfL stuff. A modal shift towards bikes for short central hops near the end of decade set off warning bells, and a lengthy period where people were encouraged not to use the tube killed TfL's finances). Most of New York's night service is not as frequent as most of the Night Tube network.
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Multiple places have had fries. Is there a difference between chips and fries?
Fries are a subset of chips - specifically the thin cut chips like you get at McDonalds.
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Is there an aversion to £2 coins? I've received £2-£4.xx change in multiple £1 coins several times when a £2 coin was an option. (Only sometimes. Sometimes there was a £2 coin as I would expect.)
No - you get what they have, and £1 coins are more common.

There's 1.7 billion bimetal pound coins that have been minted (up to end 2021). There's been 550 million bimetal £2 coins minted - about a third of the number. Add in that £2 coins have multiple designs (so some are collected) rather than 1, and have been minted for 25 years rather than the 6 years that these new pound coins have been, and we're looking at many more £2 coins dropping out of circulation.

You are getting pound coins because they have lots of pound coins to use as change. If was £6 or £8 you might see the £2 coins coming out in the change, but they've got the £1 coins and would quite like to not have as many of them.