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Old September 10th, 2011, 06:24 PM   #2681
DanielFigFoz
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Apart from Glasgow, I don't think that urban motorways will be built unless things change a lot in the UK, which isn't likely to happen anytime soon I don't think
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Old September 10th, 2011, 07:13 PM   #2682
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Originally Posted by CairnsTony View Post
It's not quite that straight forward and many Poms will be surprised by what they find here.

Whilst Aus may have 22 mil. people (give or take a few hundred thousand) in an area the size of Europe, most of them happen to crowd into five very urbanised areas. As these are seen as desirable places to live, land is at a premium and house prices are very high. In fact all told, I read very recently that Sydney and Melbourne are now the world's most expensive places to live. You get a lot of house for your money (Aus builds on average the world's largest houses) but you still have to pay for it.

Furthermore, urban motorways in Aus are now mostly built underground: whether it be the new Clem Tunnel in Brissie, or the one they're building to the airport; the subterranean motorway to Sydney airport, or the just-built cross town motorway just south of Sydney's CBD, Aussies don't want their cities criss-crossed with visually intrusive road schemes any more than anywhere else.

If you want new urban motorways in the UK, I can't help feeling this is how you will have to build them although Glasgow appears to be an exception.

'Quality of Life' is relative to what you consider your priorities. Yes there are wide open spaces here where you can get away from people, but Aus is one of the world's most urbanised countries, so those wide open spaces are clearly not a priority for most people here.
A more "forward thinking" approach is needed to tackle traffic in the UK and the need for new motorways. Rather than tear segments of UK cities up and ruin entire neighborhoods by building ugly urban motorways and rather than spending billions on expensive tunneling, I would rather see all major UK cities have ring motorways, with exits that could be built close to train stations or bus connections for anyone wishing to travel into the city that may not need to actually use their car while there. This would make a lot more sense, IMO. The M8 in Glasgow does add character to the city, but I would not like to see other UK cities torn to pieces by building ugly motorways, unless they could be effectively landscaped and somewhat hidden from street view.

An American or Australian solution would not work in the UK - the UK is far more crowded, far more densely populated and space is at a premium.
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Old September 11th, 2011, 11:24 AM   #2683
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A more "forward thinking" approach is needed to tackle traffic in the UK and the need for new motorways. Rather than tear segments of UK cities up and ruin entire neighborhoods by building ugly urban motorways and rather than spending billions on expensive tunneling, I would rather see all major UK cities have ring motorways, with exits that could be built close to train stations or bus connections for anyone wishing to travel into the city that may not need to actually use their car while there. This would make a lot more sense, IMO. The M8 in Glasgow does add character to the city, but I would not like to see other UK cities torn to pieces by building ugly motorways, unless they could be effectively landscaped and somewhat hidden from street view.

An American or Australian solution would not work in the UK - the UK is far more crowded, far more densely populated and space is at a premium.
As I said in my previous post, space is at a premium in Australia's major urban centres too and these subterranean motorways certainly don't come cheap. We could certainly do with far better public transport too!

Whilst 'Park and Ride' is nothing new in the UK, and it works up to a point, I have read that some people are actually using their cars more to drive to the pick up point for the train, bus, tram or whatever. I'm familiar with the P&R in Canterbury and can honestly say that it didn't do much for the traffic congestion... Canterbury isn't even all that big and most of the traffic is heading into the city, not around it. The P&R would have to significantly increase its capacity to remove a large amount of that traffic. Realistically however, you can't force people to use it as the P&R wouldn't necessarily go to where they want it to go.

I would agree that the status quo is unacceptable, but when I was back in the UK in December I was reminded all too vividly just how busy even the most minor roads can be along almost any route in most reasonably built up areas. Perhaps British people are used to those levels of traffic. It can't be much fun living alongside some of those roads however or using them every rush hour. I guess 'quality of life' gets somewhat compromised at that point.

I'd be interested to gauge the opinions of our friends in the Low Countries (since it is very densely populated there) to see how they tackle congestion and whether transport policy there is any more enlightened.

Last edited by CairnsTony; September 11th, 2011 at 02:53 PM.
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Old September 11th, 2011, 12:04 PM   #2684
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I'd be interested to gauge the opinions of our friends in the Low Countries (since it is very densely populated there) to see how they tackle congestion and whether transport policy there is any more enlightened.
The Netherlands is currently working on a massive expansion of the motorway capacity. They're adding 800 kilometers of new lanes in 5 years. Finally after all these years they're replacing 2x2 motorways with 2x3 / 2x4 motorways, some widenings even include 2 additional lanes each way. There are few new motorways as our network is fairly completed (a few missing links are under construction), most of it is additional capacity to existing motorways.

Pictures like these were unimaginable 6 or 7 years ago:
image hosted on flickr

A2 Abcoude-5 by Chriszwolle, on Flickr
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Old September 11th, 2011, 02:52 PM   #2685
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Interesting photo there: a very wide motorway with an extremely broad median strip; not what I would normally associate with the Netherlands!

May I ask how does your country tackle urban congestion?
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Old September 11th, 2011, 02:59 PM   #2686
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May I ask how does your country tackle urban congestion?
Most traffic lights are fairly efficient. Of course there is urban congestion, but Dutch cities are not that big (Amsterdam has only 750,000 inhabitants). The main problem is excessive bus priority at traffic lights that causes more harm than good. Much more improvement could be done if they optimize traffic lights and downgrade bus priorities. Right now if a bus is near an intersection, (almost) the entire intersection gets a red light regardless of traffic flow or phases and the bus immediately gets through.

It would be much better if they would let the existing flow get through and then give the bus priority in the following phase. This would improve traffic flow a lot, while the bus doesn't loose too much time. People who travel by bus in the Netherlands are not that time-sensitive anyway, mostly students. Even with all the bus priorities in cities, cycling is generally still faster.

Urban traffic can be bad in some cities, but because the Netherlands is poly-centric on a relatively small area, traffic flows are distributed better across the network. Generally anti-rush hour directions are almost as busy as the "true" rush hour direction. I guess that's also why reversible lanes are not really popular (we only have one).
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Old September 11th, 2011, 04:45 PM   #2687
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Even with all the bus priorities in cities, cycling is generally still faster.
That might explain why I took to cycling around Canterbury! It just made sense if I actually wanted to get somewhere any time soon especially since I could duck down narrow lanes and cut-throughs inaccessible to road vehicles. I wonder if proportionately more Dutch people (much in keeping with the stereotype) cycle than British people?
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Old September 11th, 2011, 04:53 PM   #2688
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That might explain why I took to cycling around Canterbury! It just made sense if I actually wanted to get somewhere any time soon especially since I could duck down narrow lanes and cut-throughs inaccessible to road vehicles. I wonder if proportionately more Dutch people (much in keeping with the stereotype) cycle than British people?
Yes they do. Cyclists have their own cycle way network in Holland, complete with road signs and traffic lights. Their interests are part of the highway code, and it's a lot safer to cycle in Holland then it is in Britain, even though more cycle ways are being constructed. But it's at a very minimum.
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Old September 11th, 2011, 05:16 PM   #2689
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Apart from Glasgow, I don't think that urban motorways will be built unless things change a lot in the UK, which isn't likely to happen anytime soon I don't think
I don't want anything to change if it involves building urban motorways...

Glasgow has got its self into a bit of a hole with its motorways. It had to built a second one to bypass the other. Motorways should be used to bypass and intercity travel, not inner city commuting.

Glasgow should have build an outer ring motorway and maybe a few sections radiating in from the edge partway like London...

I do think that some inner city roads that are motorway size but not status should be upgraded such as London's Western Ave
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Old September 11th, 2011, 05:59 PM   #2690
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Yes they do. Cyclists have their own cycle way network in Holland, complete with road signs and traffic lights. Their interests are part of the highway code, and it's a lot safer to cycle in Holland then it is in Britain, even though more cycle ways are being constructed. But it's at a very minimum.
It's also nice and flat which is conducive to cycling. I can't imagine ever cycling to work in Glasgow, if you don't arrive soaked from the rain, you'll arrive soaked in sweat.
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Old September 11th, 2011, 06:10 PM   #2691
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I don't want anything to change if it involves building urban motorways...

Glasgow has got its self into a bit of a hole with its motorways. It had to built a second one to bypass the other. Motorways should be used to bypass and intercity travel, not inner city commuting.
While I wouldn't advocate any other cities copying what Glasgow did 40 years ago, especially the destruction of Charing Cross, they haven't realy built a second motorway to bypass the other. It just took them 40 years to complete the "ring" (though it is not strictly speaking a ringroad).
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Old September 11th, 2011, 06:53 PM   #2692
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While I wouldn't advocate any other cities copying what Glasgow did 40 years ago, especially the destruction of Charing Cross, they haven't realy built a second motorway to bypass the other. It just took them 40 years to complete the "ring" (though it is not strictly speaking a ringroad).
They completed the ring, but the ring that we have now wasn't part of the original plan...The original plan was a much small ring around the centre, what we have now is in response to the M8 being too busy and the centre needing a further bypass...
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Old September 11th, 2011, 07:01 PM   #2693
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It's not quite that straight forward and many Poms will be surprised by what they find here.

Whilst Aus may have 22 mil. people (give or take a few hundred thousand) in an area the size of Europe, most of them happen to crowd into five very urbanised areas. As these are seen as desirable places to live, land is at a premium and house prices are very high. In fact all told, I read very recently that Sydney and Melbourne are now the world's most expensive places to live. You get a lot of house for your money (Aus builds on average the world's largest houses) but you still have to pay for it.

Furthermore, urban motorways in Aus are now mostly built underground: whether it be the new Clem Tunnel in Brissie, or the one they're building to the airport; the subterranean motorway to Sydney airport, or the just-built cross town motorway just south of Sydney's CBD, Aussies don't want their cities criss-crossed with visually intrusive road schemes any more than anywhere else.

If you want new urban motorways in the UK, I can't help feeling this is how you will have to build them although Glasgow appears to be an exception.

'Quality of Life' is relative to what you consider your priorities. Yes there are wide open spaces here where you can get away from people, but Aus is one of the world's most urbanised countries, so those wide open spaces are clearly not a priority for most people here.
Personally I find the main difference to be the attitude of the press, british press continually talks down the state of the country while in Australia the press does the opposite. Statistically there are many more non anglo's in Australia than the UK but the press in the UK continually enforces the belief that the UK is over run with immigrants and that the country is long past the point of ruin.
The UK's road system makes Australia's look like a third world country, yet again the press is always talking down the state of the countries infrastructure while in Australia the press mainly only talks about roads to mention a new project or road opening. I found driving in England to be a joy compared to the over abundance of dual lane roads full of traffic lights every 30seconds. Each set of lights is fully con tolled so you only get a green 1/4th of the time. Compare that to mostly motorway or HQDC roads. The not so good roads are still mainly controlled access with efficient roundabouts ( compared to aus where main highways are full of driveways and crossroads at every possible intersecting road). I know many sections of the UK are clogged at peak times but the same is true in Australia.

I must say that I have not been back to the UK since the recession which Australia has been luckily not so damaged by.

Last edited by scotdaliney; September 11th, 2011 at 07:12 PM.
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Old September 14th, 2011, 05:39 PM   #2694
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I don't want anything to change if it involves building urban motorways...

Glasgow has got its self into a bit of a hole with its motorways. It had to built a second one to bypass the other. Motorways should be used to bypass and intercity travel, not inner city commuting.

Glasgow should have build an outer ring motorway and maybe a few sections radiating in from the edge partway like London...

I do think that some inner city roads that are motorway size but not status should be upgraded such as London's Western Ave
If not urban motorways then what do you suggest for all those inner city commuters? Most British cities already have a widespred public transport network and the traffic on their roads continues to increase regardless.

London's motorway network is an incomplete mess, especially south of the Thames. The original plan was never finished and never will be. London's example should not be copied by any other city.
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Old September 15th, 2011, 09:03 AM   #2695
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As these are seen as desirable places to live, land is at a premium and house prices are very high. In fact all told, I read very recently that Sydney and Melbourne are now the world's most expensive places to live. You get a lot of house for your money (Aus builds on average the world's largest houses) but you still have to pay for it.
Why aren't smaller, cheaper houses built then? Is it illegal to build on small lots in Australia?

Last edited by GCarty; September 15th, 2011 at 09:08 AM.
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Old September 15th, 2011, 09:06 AM   #2696
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England is rather full, especially Southeast England. They need to settle and develop the Scottish Highlands :p
People crowd into SE England because that's where the jobs are...
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Old September 15th, 2011, 11:20 AM   #2697
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Why aren't smaller, cheaper houses built then? Is it illegal to build on small lots in Australia?
The 'average' house size is big, but that means of course that some are also quite small or absolutely huge. I live in a two bedroom apartment which is more than big enough for me.

Whilst Melbourne and Sydney are stupidly expensive, regional areas can be much more affordable. I can comfortably pay my mortgage on my wages here in Cairns, but if I wanted to stretch my budget could afford a four bedroom house in some neighbourhoods. But since I would prefer to have money to spend on other things plus a bit of a financial cushion, I happily stay put.

Land is used wastefully here in most instances with massive urban sprawl in the bigger metropolitan areas. But I guess most Aussies just want bigger houses and house builders build accordingly.

EDIT: Not trying to hijack the thread, sorry folks.

Last edited by CairnsTony; September 15th, 2011 at 02:12 PM.
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Old September 16th, 2011, 06:08 AM   #2698
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Are there any British engineers on this forum?
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Old September 17th, 2011, 05:32 PM   #2699
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Old September 17th, 2011, 07:26 PM   #2700
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here's even a story that the Ministry demanded that all of the bridges were built too narrow to allow for any upgrade to motorway to take place easily.

Pathetic Motorways
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