Thursday, July 9, 2009

Often confusing if you are not a Paris native

A few posts ago we mentioned there are 12 avenues radiating from the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. As you might imagine, the traffic lights which are located on top of the arc are quite elaborate and you must pay attention or you will miss your turn.

Some have petitioned for a traffic circle to be used there, but most have given up and have accepted the old system of traffic signals.

Power outages are especially challenging.


  1. I LOVED the traffic circles in the Netherlands. But most of the ones I saw were for lightly traveled areas and villages.

    Still, cool beans.

  2. Stephanie, do you think traffic circles are a good idea? I wonder why we don't see more in the U.S. - I have only seen a few here.

  3. You think Parisians obey traffic signals? :) They even have variable rules for, OK I'll say it, traffic circles. The rule that prevails is "Every man for himself".

  4. But I LOVE traffic circles. It's just that they seem such a roundabout way of getting to the other side. But they are fun. The free-lance ones are even more fun. Hi, A. :)

  5. Where did you go, A.?

    Don't run off, you can speak English here too. Pay me no mind. I'll call it a roundabout if you promise to stay, K? Tell me, though, if there is an axe murderer living in the apartment above you, do you suppose it is a bloody flat?

    Where did she go? It's after 1am in England right now and I KNOW I saw her here a minute ago.

  6. I have a cat that thinks she can dance. I don't have the heart to tell her she has two left feet. Ta DUM da.

    Groucho Marx?

    Karl Marx?

    Rodney Dangerfield?

    Henny Youngman?

    Benny Hill?

    Rodney Dangerfield: "I tell ya I was an ugly kid. I was so ugly my parents used to hang a pork chop around my neck just to get the dog to play with me."

    Ta DUM (wait for it) Da!

  7. Ah, Sage. Where are ya when we need a good joke?

  8. we have a roundabout here in Clearwater Beach, it has been the cause of many a letter to the editor to complain about the demise of our traffic and our beach. It is actually great to drive on, just funny to watch the locals complain!

  9. When I saw them in the Netherlands, even when they were at busy intersections, I never saw any issues or backups as a result.

    There's one in Waco, TX I stumbled on that was a VERY busy intersection, but, aside from having to drive around it twice so figure out how to exit it, it didn't slow me down. When I went back through, ZIP and I was through.

    I think I read a news story once on stats for traffic circles/roundabouts. Have you looked?

  10. I saw a couple of roundabouts/traffic circles in Massachusetts last summer. Only there they call them "rotary". ies. As in "Rotary Ahead". There is a huge one at the main intersection leading to Cape Cod and I hope you NEVER see it. Traffic backed up for MILES! I swear, all the gas they waste for people idling, they could build a massive cloverleaf. Saw another ON Cape Cod, and it worked fine. So apparently part of the formula is not to have 8 million cars from 5 major highways all turning to major parts of Massachusetts on a Friday afternoon. What a DUMB idea Teddy!
    "The Bourne Rotary." Avoid it like the Bourne Identity. Like the plague. Quicker to take a ferry. Sheesh!

  11. @Debbie - You can't please everyone so you've got to please yourself. (Rick Nelson) :)

    @Stephanie B - I think they DO work (and I think there should be more of them in certain areas instead of traffic signals) as long as there are not loooooong lines of cars backed up down each side road. All it takes is one or two people who don't understand the concept, and traffic can back up in a hurry. But, yeah. I'm for more of them, used judiciously.

  12. I remember someone talking about a super set of roundabouts that were all connected, like 3 of them, I think. In England? Can't remember. Catherine was the one describing them, I think, so it must have been in NI somewhere. But that was mind-boggling. A., do you remember that?

    I have this idea for a three-dimensional set that are stacked and also articulated. I will show you the design sometime.

    In my plans, there is a wrecking yard and a cemetery in the middle.

  13. Yes, I remember the talk about it but there are several. The one in Swindon has 5 mini-roundabouts arranged in a circle. It sounds dreadful but when you're driving it's not nearly so bad. You're only dealing with one roundabout at a time.

    Same with the Arc de Triomphe, it's not nearly so bad when you're driving as long as you remember who has right of way. And it's never you.

    We've already got the 3-d set of roundabouts. It's called Heathrow airspace.

  14. Did I tell you about the funeral director in Southampton who has an advertising sign on the roundabout leading to the motorway to London? I think I did.

  15. @A. - The reason you never have the right of way is because you drive on the wrong side of the street. I mean the left side of the street. You can't do that in France. You can only do it half the time in the U.S.

    Isn't it hard enough to drive through roundabouts without having to do it backward? The Swindon quintuple done left-wise boggles the mind. Arrrrrgh!

    I do remember the funeral home advert on the roundabout. Don't know if it was just an innocent thing or if he thought he was reaching his new clients!

  16. There's a roundabout near Laurel Maryland that I had to drive through when visiting my brother 6 years ago. I lost several years of my life on that one. I think if I ever get to Paris I shall be walking most places.



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