Monday, August 29, 2005

Despite the cataclysm about to befall Fat City, allow me to add a few more thoughts on my now not-so-recent trip to Vienna:

Here's one European innovation that Americans can use: Traffic signals that turn yellow before turning green. How often have we sat in traffic, three or four cars behind the slow driver who, when the light turns green, sits there for a good five seconds before sliding his foot from the brake pedal to the gas, then slowly steps on the gas, which means by the time you move, the light has probably switched to red again? The preemptive yellow light, I am betting, would do much to reduce congestion.

Of course this assumes cars in the other direction will not ever run reds. If they did...

Vienna now has its own "walk of fame," consisting of stars along the sidewalks with names of famous composers, conductors, and the like. There's Franz Schubert and Frederic Chopin and Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy. (It is interesting and quaint, but why must the Japanese tourist contribute to the stereotype and take a photo of the star belonging Yehudi Menuhin? It sadly brought to mind the words of the great Al Czervik who once said: "Wang, it's a parking lot!")

Not everyone can get a star on streets like Kärnter and am Graben. Some end up near the subway. I remember spotting the stars for Debussy and Saint-Saëns in the Karlsplatz station. Not too far from them someone (most likely in a drunken stupor) left a ... present. It is an image I will not soon forget. I call it the Karlsplatz Schokorolle.


Anonymous said...

We have that in Hong Kong, it's a stupid idea because you'll get the drivers jumping the light so they don't miss a second of green time. It might be better for societies that thrive on "doing what their told" rather than "What can we get away with."

Anonymous said...

We have to be careful with these type of changes because people tend to push the limits. We have the right turn on red AFTER STOP and so many people don't STOP that it makes people tentative. The biggest improvement to traffic flow would be courtesy.By the way has anyone else noticed the most rude drivers to be Cadillac and Lexus drivers.