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Old November 12th, 2012, 05:47 PM   #8441
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Beautiful scenery.
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Old November 12th, 2012, 07:55 PM   #8442
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JeremyCastle View Post
As a Californian who has now lived several years in Europe, I don't understand why the vast majority of US freeways/interstates/expressways just don't look as good as their European counterparts.

I know the US system is for the most part older; but even in places where they have expanded recently, the road quality just doesn't seem as good or as smooth as most of the Western European freeways/motorways (for example, the above photos). Add to that, the continued obsession with building traffic lights on off ramps baffles me. I know our US patriotism runs deep, but surely there are things pertaining to highway building that the US can learn from Western Europe?
Wisconsin is going heavily 'in' with roundabouts, including at freeway interchange ramp intersections.

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Old November 12th, 2012, 08:41 PM   #8443
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Wisconsin is going heavily 'in' with roundabouts, including at freeway interchange ramp intersections.

Mike
That could be a good start. Also here in Toronto I see a problem with road designs which i am sure is way worse in the US. For example there is this wide and congested street (eg. Yonge St) and then there is a traffic light with a small local street on one side and a parking lot entrance on other side and all the cars must stop for only one car getting out of parking lot and one person crossing the street. This can be solved by using u-turns and curved ramp-like entrances and pedestrian underpass or flyover.
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Old November 12th, 2012, 08:47 PM   #8444
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Build more roundabouts
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Old November 12th, 2012, 09:07 PM   #8445
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JeremyCastle View Post
As a Californian who has now lived several years in Europe, I don't understand why the vast majority of US freeways/interstates/expressways just don't look as good as their European counterparts.

I know the US system is for the most part older; but even in places where they have expanded recently, the road quality just doesn't seem as good or as smooth as most of the Western European freeways/motorways (for example, the above photos). Add to that, the continued obsession with building traffic lights on off ramps baffles me. I know our US patriotism runs deep, but surely there are things pertaining to highway building that the US can learn from Western Europe?
I don't know. I have driven well over 25000 miles across the lower 48 and I really like the US roads. Of course as you mentioned there is problem with some of the older stretches (design and pavement quality) but by and large I find the whole system really good.
And something like "look" of the freeway is completely subjective.
I like the wide medians, less sound walls, general spaciousness of the US freeways. Many European motorways feel cramped and twisted (of course not all).
US might have more traffic lights on off ramps but also more completely free-flow stack interchanges.
I do like roundabouts and I'm glad they are being used more and more in the US.
At the end both ways of road designing and building have some strong and some week points.
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Old November 12th, 2012, 10:46 PM   #8446
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Build more roundabouts
Sometimes there is not enough space to make roundabouts or one of the roads has a higher significance that interrupting the traffic by a roundabout may not be a good idea.
One of the things that can be done is turnabouts
What I mean is something simillar to this:
google maps
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Old November 12th, 2012, 11:36 PM   #8447
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The state of Louisiana has put plans to widen I-10 in Baton Rouge on indefinite hold. The plan was to widen I-10 from the Mississippi River to the I-10/I-12 split. This is currently a six-lane freeway. Any widening would have required significant reconstruction and right-of-way acquisition because several segments of I-10 run across viaducts with no shoulders.

They now plan to improve traffic signals in this area, although there is no decent alternate surface street that runs adjacent to I-10.
I am very familiar with that stretch of I-10 and that area is so built up that it would be very expensive to widen that stretch not to mention replacing the elevated viaduct. I think what will happen is that LADOT will install ramp meters along that stretch like they already have on I-12.
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Old November 13th, 2012, 12:29 AM   #8448
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America is starting to get roundabout nutty. Once somebody has in their head that roundabouts are the greatest thing since sliced bread you end up with designs like these:

Cluster of multi-lane roundabouts near Kansas City:


Oshkosh, Wisconsin roundabouts off US41:
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Old November 13th, 2012, 02:08 AM   #8449
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NFZANMNIM View Post
Sometimes there is not enough space to make roundabouts or one of the roads has a higher significance that interrupting the traffic by a roundabout may not be a good idea.
One of the things that can be done is turnabouts
What I mean is something simillar to this:
google maps
New Jersey's been doing those for ages. Not sure they're all that safe in heavy traffic.

Check out this stretch of US 22 (I grew up near there): From here http://https://maps.google.com/maps?...27423&t=m&z=15 east to the Garden State Parkway.

They've even taken recently to labeling them by letter: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedi...22_U_turns.jpg
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Old November 13th, 2012, 03:56 AM   #8450
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The reason many US highways look in worse shape than in Europe is because they pour far less money on their maintenance over time. Then you have the "run-down" looks when you don't replace small cracks often, when you over-fix the pavement instead of re-paving the upper layer, and even when you don't wash or replace signs, guard-rails, cut grass etc.
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Old November 13th, 2012, 04:21 AM   #8451
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Suburbanist View Post
The reason many US highways look in worse shape than in Europe is because they pour far less money on their maintenance over time. Then you have the "run-down" looks when you don't replace small cracks often, when you over-fix the pavement instead of re-paving the upper layer, and even when you don't wash or replace signs, guard-rails, cut grass etc.
Canada's highways are even worse
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Old November 13th, 2012, 09:05 AM   #8452
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US highways look old and worn because they're older than most equivalent motorways in other countries except Germany, and Germany is a huge exception to everything because of the sheer amount of money they pour into maintaining the their Autobahnen. They also have to go through weather and climate cycles that vary much more from season to season, and they also have to handle 26-ton trucks that carry freight to every corner of the country.

One can observe the weathering effect because interstates in the southern half of the US are usually in much better shape than the northern half. Louisiana and California are notable exceptions to this rule for varying reasons.
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Old November 13th, 2012, 11:41 AM   #8453
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Harsh winters can damage the pavement, but there is no weather excuse for overgrown grass, liter along the highway, faded signs etc.

It is really a matter of money. You can have top-notch carefully maintained highways if you spend on them via tolls (France, Italy, Spain) or very high gas taxes (Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland).
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Old November 13th, 2012, 05:25 PM   #8454
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rail Claimore View Post
US highways look old and worn because they're older than most equivalent motorways in other countries except Germany, and Germany is a huge exception to everything because of the sheer amount of money they pour into maintaining the their Autobahnen. They also have to go through weather and climate cycles that vary much more from season to season, and they also have to handle 26-ton trucks that carry freight to every corner of the country.

One can observe the weathering effect because interstates in the southern half of the US are usually in much better shape than the northern half. Louisiana and California are notable exceptions to this rule for varying reasons.
There is a thread next door dedicated to German motorways where you could read exactly the opposite of what you wrote.
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Old November 14th, 2012, 08:26 PM   #8455
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JeremyCastle
As a Californian who has now lived several years in Europe, I don't understand why the vast majority of US freeways/interstates/expressways just don't look as good as their European counterparts.

I know the US system is for the most part older; but even in places where they have expanded recently, the road quality just doesn't seem as good or as smooth as most of the Western European freeways/motorways (for example, the above photos). Add to that, the continued obsession with building traffic lights on off ramps baffles me. I know our US patriotism runs deep, but surely there are things pertaining to highway building that the US can learn from Western Europe?
It all comes down the money (the answer to 99 out of 100 questions). European spend their taxes on new roads. Americans spend their taxes on the military.

Here in Cotati, they just passed a local measure banning roundabouts. The city was thinking of creating one on its main drag. The local grocery chain opposed it saying the trucks would have a hard time navigating it (funny, the fire department didn't care). Ridiculous. But Petaluma, along with other Sonoma County cities have been more open. Though I have yet to see a roundabout off of a off ramp in California.
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Old November 14th, 2012, 08:31 PM   #8456
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Penn's Woods

New Jersey's been doing those for ages. Not sure they're all that safe in heavy traffic.

Check out this stretch of US 22 (I grew up near there): From here http://https://maps.google.com/maps?...27423&t=m&z=15 east to the Garden State Parkway.

They've even taken recently to labeling them by letter: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedi...22_U_turns.jpg
Cool. Basically a form of the "Michigan left"
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Old November 14th, 2012, 09:09 PM   #8457
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Except that the center islands are full of 7-Elevens, Red Lobsters and the like. That stretch is a mess, really.
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Old November 15th, 2012, 10:31 AM   #8458
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Canada's highways are even worse
I agree. And Canadian taxes are higher.
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Old November 15th, 2012, 03:56 PM   #8459
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Interstate 24, Chattanooga

Interstate 24 is quite scenic in the Chattanooga, Tennessee area.

image hosted on flickr

I-24 going into chattanooga by Leonel Macias, on Flickr

Unfortunately I couldn't find any other good photos of this location, but it looks great on Street View
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Old November 15th, 2012, 05:25 PM   #8460
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One of America's great tourist traps is near Chattanooga:

http://seerockcity.biz/browseproduct...ossville-.html

It is an impressive site, though. (Not Rock City, particularly: the setting for the city. If you're anywhere near there, the view from Lookout Mountain are worth it, and without paying Rock City's admission: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lookout_Mountain)
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