Thursday, March 20, 2008

Reality check

We're in a bit of a fantasy bubble in Dubai sometimes, forgetting the reality of what happens 'back home' and thinking the problems we face are unique to Dubai.

I was reminded of that by a couple of articles in overseas papers recently.

First, in my home town in Australia. Our sort-of equivalent Sheikh Zayed Road is the F3 Freeway going north from Sydney.

The old original Pacific Highway has been allowed to fall into disrepair since the opening of the freeway, which has long stretches with no turn-off. That means that whenever there's an accident we get this:

The same happens when we have one of our frequent summer bushfires. People have been stuck there for hours - I recall one accident that had kilometres of vehicles trapped there in searing temperatures for eight hours.

The Central Coast Express Advocate has a story about the plans.

DESPERATE drivers hope the State Government's $28 million plan to divert traffic on the F3 during major emergencies will curb lengthy closures.

But many warn it is not a silver bullet to solve the problem and does not negate the need for an alternative route between Sydney and the Central Coast.

The government has released its plan to divert traffic to the opposite side of the F3 during emergencies.Traffic will be diverted around a blockage, typically caused by an accident or bushfire, at one of 19 crossover points.

The plan has drawn mild applause from commuters, the NRMA, the Opposition and the NSW Business Chamber Central Coast.But they said it was not a new idea and there was a need for another major route.

"The crossover points are only a Band-Aid solution," Terrigal State Liberal MP Chris Hartcher said.

Those are things we complain about here in Dubai - not enough roads, not enough alternative routes, gridlock when there's a problem.

Then another subject we complain about here, not allowing emergency vehicles to pass, was covered in the London Evening Standard.

London ambulances are involved in an average of more than four accidents a day, figures show.

Experts say the problem is getting worse because other drivers are increasingly unwilling to get out of the way of emergency vehicles.

"I suppose people are so frustrated stuck in traffic that they lose any sense of proportion but we are seeing some of the consequences of that."

If you're interested, the original stories are here and

No comments: