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Old April 21st, 2009, 11:10 AM   #941
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alle View Post
Anyhow the USA is a big country which is less densely populated than Europe. Also, it is not in every sense the same nation it was a few decades ago, resource wise. Still I think a big part of the issue with certain infrastructure not being maintained as good as it could be has to do with budget priority.
The population argument only gets you so far. Many parts of the US may be almost deserted, but you don't need to build a dense highway network like that of Belgium in North Dakota. All you really need in ND is one major highway running East to West to connect the state to the rest of the country.

So the population argument doesn't entirely apply.
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Old April 21st, 2009, 11:38 AM   #942
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Originally Posted by timmy- brissy View Post
Oh yeah and the spanish and italians and Greeks care bloody crazy drivers!
I am italian and I risked my life at pedestrian crossings only 2 times in my life and it was in England (and yes, I was looking in the right direction )

The problem of maintenance is severe in Europe too, as for example Germany and Italy have very old networks built sometimes earlier than in the US. The thing is...we do not spend so much money in expensive inside the city highways...which are difficult to maintain and humongous in size. In EU there are not so many highways used for urban traffic as in the US, in fact any road of importance in the US inside the cities is a highway

Our cities have smaller streets easy and cheap to maintain
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Old April 21st, 2009, 06:50 PM   #943
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Originally Posted by Eddard Stark View Post
I am italian and I risked my life at pedestrian crossings only 2 times in my life and it was in England (and yes, I was looking in the right direction )

The problem of maintenance is severe in Europe too, as for example Germany and Italy have very old networks built sometimes earlier than in the US. The thing is...we do not spend so much money in expensive inside the city highways...which are difficult to maintain and humongous in size. In EU there are not so many highways used for urban traffic as in the US, in fact any road of importance in the US inside the cities is a highway

Our cities have smaller streets easy and cheap to maintain
You maybe be not but on a hair pin bend! There a pricks from these countries who do it and they deserve to get shot for how uncool they are. But there are stupid boy racers in the UK as well!
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Old April 21st, 2009, 07:42 PM   #944
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Originally Posted by Eddard Stark View Post
I am italian and I risked my life at pedestrian crossings only 2 times in my life and it was in England (and yes, I was looking in the right direction )
Same here. I was even told that pedestrians don't have the right of way over cars on pedestrian crossings in the UK, is that right? I was told they only force pedestrians to use those, but don't give any advantages in return.

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Old April 21st, 2009, 10:26 PM   #945
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I don't know about other states, but in Virginia the law says that NOBODY has the right of way until whoever's more courteous gives it (except for stop lights and pedestrian signals). Most drivers tend to give the right of way to pedestrians, though, particularly at crosswalks or if a pedestrian is crossing a side street at an intersection with another side street or a secondary/primary road. At intersections between secondary/primary roads with significant pedestrian traffic there are often pedestrian signals that indicate when it's safe for pedestrians to pass. There are usually buttons that pedestrians push that will change the pedestrian signal to "walk" because i think those signals are always showing "don't walk" so the most traffic can pass as quickly as possible.
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Old April 22nd, 2009, 01:31 PM   #946
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Originally Posted by Glodenox View Post
Same here. I was even told that pedestrians don't have the right of way over cars on pedestrian crossings in the UK, is that right? I was told they only force pedestrians to use those, but don't give any advantages in return.

Greetings,
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Actually it's the other way round. Pedestrians theoretically have right of way anywhere (except motorways) - the most common place to see this is crossing the road at junctions, where cars should stop for pedestrians. It doesn't seem to work too well in London though...!
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Old April 22nd, 2009, 03:31 PM   #947
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By my personal experience, i have driven in europe madrid to granada on the summertime to go to the beach and when i was a kid the trip was a pain in the ass. It took like 5 hours zig zag up mountains, up and down slopes and thats just been a passanger.

In the last years that i have gone back the trip has been a pleasure tunnels to cut trougth mountains, briges between hills so there is not ups and downs or they just removed complete hills and mountains to make the roads straigther instead of going around. Roads are smooth asfalt the time reduced to 4 hours just excellent, except coming and getting out of the city.

Now i live in the states, not very fair to compare to the EU because i live in oklahoma city obviously not the best city or state. But that is also an advantage sense in the great plains there is no need for all that fancy stuff spain has just build a straigth highway. The road conditions are mediocre u get that bump bump bump bump ride, and those interchanges are a pain they are old and always getting repaired and cause huge traffic jams for oklahoma standards thats a 30min jam.

What i do luv about oklahoma higways is the space, amount of overpasses to turn around and the amount of space to merge or get off.

In conclusion, by my experience yes the EU has a higher standar but for the amount of roads the states has, it is amazing the good conditions ours are on making equaly has great. I enjoy driving in both even doh oklahoma can be boring, always so straigth You can fall asleep if you have a good aligment. What i do find more annoying than anything is some American drivers, for some reasons they don't seem to get the left lane concept, is because is so easy to get your license here. We have no other choice than to put up with some crappy drivers.
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Old April 23rd, 2009, 04:10 AM   #948
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisH View Post
Actually it's the other way round. Pedestrians theoretically have right of way anywhere (except motorways) - the most common place to see this is crossing the road at junctions, where cars should stop for pedestrians. It doesn't seem to work too well in London though...!
By my experience in London, Edinburgh, and St Andrews on a regular basis the key words above are theoretically and should :-) In Scotland you'll get honked at by cars behind you if you allow someone to use a crosswalk.
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Old April 23rd, 2009, 04:19 AM   #949
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So, back on topic... Biggest probs on US highways for me are left entrances/exits, lanes disappearing or suddenly becoming exit-only, and as Fabrega said bump bump bump bump bump. Left entrances/exits are the worst of these though. Worse than this though are US drivers; daydreaming in the left lane, hitting their brakes if you flash them, believing that the merge lane is for going 20mph slower than the traffic they're merging in to, and obviously knowing that going down the road behind the wheel is for anything but driving (eg, phone, texting, eating, reading, combing hair, writing notes, and picking their nose).
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Old April 23rd, 2009, 01:38 PM   #950
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Originally Posted by mlm View Post
Another thing that makes many European highways look good, is the fact that many places here the new roads are very well intergrated in the landscape. Atleast here in Denmark, they would never make an "elevated highway" on some pillars, but instead move tons of sand to make it look "good". I know this ain't the case for ALL highways in Europe, but in general I agree that many looks better than their American counterparts.
I wonder if its cheaper to build an elevated highway on pillars instead of tons of sand?
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Old April 23rd, 2009, 02:12 PM   #951
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sand is cheaper...
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Old April 23rd, 2009, 03:29 PM   #952
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basically it comes down to the return:
sand must consolidate which takes time, often a year or more, wherease concrete pillars are more expensive

so which do you value more: opening up the road for traffic a year sooner or putting that cash somewhere else with even bigger return

now you tell this to politicians and knuckle draggers and their heads explode..
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Old April 23rd, 2009, 04:06 PM   #953
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But the digging work required for pillars would be enormous,and the ground has to be drilled until water-proof layer is found,whereas in the case of "sand",it doesnt matter whats below the ground,only humus has to be removed.
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Old March 14th, 2010, 06:09 PM   #954
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Concrete vs. asphalt

Why are European highways considered to be better than US highways? Firstly, I live in Belgium and we have some truly horrific specimen of roads, secondly, European highways are always gridlocked, certainly in Belgium, the Netherlands and around all major cities, think of the Périférique, think of the M25 the R0 (Brussels), the R1, Manchester spaghetti Junction,...


This is actually a Belgian highway...
Also, the choice for asphalt isn't always so straightforward, because asphalt does give you a better driving experience, and is, in my opinion, a little bit safer because in rainy conditions, the water is drained more rapidly. But this type of road surfacing has some drawbacks too:
-It's not as durable as concrete roads, tears open after 5 years of intensive usage, while concrete can last for 20 years. This is due to the fact that asphalt tends to sag under high loads hence the rutting in the first lane, due to the lorry's.

-Due to better drainage characteristics, water in the asphalt can freeze and expand, consequently, the road breaks and potholes are formed

All things considered, concrete is much more durable, but asphalt is more comfortable. And I prefer more durable roads which can save the taxpayer's money and time, because resurfacing asphalt roads can cause major traffic jams.

about the junctions and aesthetics: of course, major American free-ways and highways through the city centre are less pretty. But Europe hardly has any down-town highways, they use public transport or too crowded surface roads/avenues and all the highways are docked in a peripheral highway (eg. M25, R 0/1/2) these peripherals are well away from the centre, and more space = better aesthetics.
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Old March 14th, 2010, 07:06 PM   #955
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Originally Posted by steven_vc View Post
European highways are always gridlocked, certainly in Belgium, the Netherlands and around all major cities, think of the Périférique, think of the M25 the R0 (Brussels), the R1, Manchester spaghetti Junction,...
A highway being gridlocked isn't a sign that it has a low build quality. Also Europe as a whole is MUCH more densely populated than the US so the highways will be more jammed with cars. Also I know that here in the UK pretty much all highways are 6 lanes. Its only in a few places that they go up to 8 or 10. In the US the highways in general are much bigger.

Here are some Google Maps screen shots showing some unusual motorway layouts in England...

M56 in south east Manchester is 8 lanes in total. Once outside the city it returns to the normal 6 lanes.



Gravelly Hill interchange Birmingham...

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Old March 14th, 2010, 08:34 PM   #956
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some pictures of our slovak motorways







image hosted on flickr
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Old March 17th, 2010, 01:36 AM   #957
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It really comes down to taste.

Some people prefer the American highways, cause they are more impressive. Some prefer the European highways because they are of higher quality.

But this isn't always the case. I live in Denmark, and here you can find absolutely horrible highways around Copenhagen. The reason is that it has been decided that major roadwork has to be done on the highway within the next few years, so the government does not want to pay for putting on entirely new surface until then. After the major roadwork, the highways are usually in pristine condition for many many years.

Highway design comes down to politics. In the US, the politicians want the highways to be able to handle all commute to the cities, which means huge highways with a lot of lanes. If the highways become too congested, more lanes are built.
In Europe, politicians want people to use the mass-transit systems. If highways become too congested, the mass-transit system will get improved instead of the highways to force more people away from the roads. Only when the congestion becomes extreme, will politicians build more lanes.

In the US, highways usually cut straight from A to B. This is great if you have to get somewhere in a hurry.

Here in Denmark, highways curve through the landscape. The reason for this is mostly safety. First off, curvy highways give you a lot of focus points, which means that you actually feel you are making progress through the landscape. Furthermore it keeps the driver aware on inter-city trips. Also, the landscape around the highway has been designed to raise awareness. The landscape keeps changing between fields, vistas, forests, lakes etc.

Highways in the US feels a lot like monstrosities, that cuts through the landscape, ruining it, while the European highways feel a lot more like it's part of the landscape.

I hope we never get concrete highways in Denmark. They are a pain to drive on, and they doesn't look good. As for safety, I would imagine that breaking distance is shorter on asphalt than concrete.

As concrete crash barriers, we only have those on the O3 around Copenhagen, and the only reason they are to be found at all, is because the middle section is too narrow to fit a steel crash barrier (as it would bend into oncoming traffic in an accident). Other than the O3, all crash barriers in Denmark are of steel. The reason is that if you are in an accident, and hit the crash barrier, it's supposed to give away to soften the impact a bit. Steel does this, and concrete doesn't.
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Old March 17th, 2010, 12:03 PM   #958
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It's also not really fair to compare a brand-new motorway somewhere in Europe with 40 - 50 year old Interstates. If you look at the older Autobahnen in Germany, or the non-tolled Autoroutes in France, you'll see the pavement quality isn't always that good.

For example, this is the German A30, just across the Dutch border. It opened in 1989.
image hosted on flickr
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Old March 17th, 2010, 01:23 PM   #959
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What frustrates me much more is the horrible quality of the city roads inside Toronto. The motorways around here (400-series) are okay.

Apparently the asphalt that we use on streets here is not designed for our cold climates, so even newly-repaved streets are in horrible condition within just a few years. Some roads in Toronto have almost Third World standards.

By the way, this is the reason many people here on streets (not motorways) hog the middle or left lane. The right lane is often so damaged, or has such deep potholes or storm drains that it's troublesome at best, and dangerous at worst, to drive in it. I once damaged the front right suspension in the car, probably by going into some hole. Generally, if a street here has 3 or more lanes, I tend to drive in the middle lane unless turning right.

Also, many rural 2-lane roads here lack clear outside edge demarcations (and usually do not have those reflective posts that are common in Europe). The standard calls for a yellow line in the middle and white lines at the edges, but on many roads those edge lines are completely faded. In my opinion, they are more important than the centre yellow line, and should be repainted at the first opportunity when they are no longer visible. I've personally experienced some pretty uncomfortable situations while driving at night on such roads.

Perhaps this is not 100% on topic, but I think currently this is the best place for this .
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Old March 17th, 2010, 02:01 PM   #960
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Originally Posted by poshbakerloo View Post
A highway being gridlocked isn't a sign that it has a low build quality. Also Europe as a whole is MUCH more densely populated than the US so the highways will be more jammed with cars. Also I know that here in the UK pretty much all highways are 6 lanes. Its only in a few places that they go up to 8 or 10. In the US the highways in general are much bigger.
Actually in NA motorways have a large amount of lanes in urban areas.
Interstates normally got 2X2 lanes
Then very long interstates could have even branches that simply are a common 1+1 lane road, as here in Canada
http://maps.google.it/maps?hl=it&ie=...05429&t=h&z=18

That obviously makes sense as in the middle of Canada you can have many hundreds of kms of 'nothing' with a very low traffic, and obviously you don't need dozens of lanes (or even only 2) for few cars


Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisZwolle View Post
It's also not really fair to compare a brand-new motorway somewhere in Europe with 40 - 50 year old Interstates. If you look at the older Autobahnen in Germany, or the non-tolled Autoroutes in France, you'll see the pavement quality isn't always that good.

For example, this is the German A30, just across the Dutch border. It opened in 1989.
image hosted on flickr
Generally in Italy there is difference of quality due to mantainance between Autostrada (tolled) and Superstarada (non tolled); the last ones often got a bad quality pavement (sometimes very bad)

Here, for istance, E-45 http://maps.google.it/maps?hl=it&ie=...18.78,,0,10.32
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