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American Highway Appreciation Thread



  • Registered Users Posts: 1,513 ✭✭✭KrisW1001

    It's Houston.

    That Dallas video was done very late at night, because those roads are notoriously congested at peak times (the video is also 13 years old - ). A former job involved several of those roads, and you're lucky to see 30 mph on the non-tolled lanes of these highways morning and evening. Daytime is a bit better, but it's what we'd call "busy" traffic.

    Dallas-Fort Worth and Houston are the finest examples of how induced demand makes it impossible to build your way out of urban traffic congestion. Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington has another, more pressing issue with traffic than just delays - because these cities sit in a large natural hollow in a hot climate, the whole area has appalling air quality. Cars are the number one contributor to this, and the days of new highways are well and truly over. Dallas's current long-term plan is to re-densify its urban centre, reduce parking, increase public transport investment, incentivise higher vehicle occupancy (you pay half price on many toll lanes if you've got someone else in the car) and basically do all the stuff that European cities do. Road User Pricing is also being considered for highways without toll lanes.

    (Another example of the same "bowl of bad air" is Los Angeles)

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,785 ✭✭✭SuperBowserWorld

    Highways to hell.

    It's kind of like saying nuclear bombs - let's build more.

    Or plastic, we need more plastic.

    Or industrial meat farming, what an incredible achievement by humanity.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,513 ✭✭✭KrisW1001

    Yes. When you finally get out of your car and walk around, most of Dallas is a horrible place - all asphalt, parking lots and flyovers. Basically, those roads are a hugely expensive monument to the failure of the private car as a method of mass transportation, and the traffic is still awful, day in, day out.

    In fairness, the city government knows this, and has changed its planning rules to encourage the creation of proper walkable neighbourhoods. Some of the newer developments in Downtown Dallas wouldn't be out of place in Dublin: street-side parking, closely-spaced blocks of three floors over retail/cafes on ground. Dallas also has the best public transport in Texas - I know that's not saying much, but it does have a multi-line commuter rail service (called DART - theirs opened a year before Dublin's)

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,547 ✭✭✭AugustusMinimus

    I’ve done a lot of driving in the US and I’ve rarely encountered the chronic traffic levels of lore. Traffic in Ireland is much worse in my experience.

    Thats not saying the American way is the correct one. Most cities there are just parking lot after parking lot.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,513 ✭✭✭KrisW1001

    One Friday evening on I-35 in Austin, TX it took me 70 minutes to travel 8 miles. "Yeah, that is a little worse than usual" was all the sympathy I got.

    In the States, the traffic doesn't stop as frequently as here, but it can get really slow. Most people drive automatics, so you end up in a mass of cars, creeping at 5-10mph or so. It's only when you check the time that you realise how bad the traffic really is.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 69 ✭✭confidentjosh

    You've obviously got a major agenda to "drive home" the fact that US highways are the best in the world (even though most of them are crumbling and falling apart) and looking at your posts on other threads it seems you want Ireland to import the same level of road infrastructure. This delusional thinking is laughable on your part. You do realise that the states is a continent in terms of size/scale and that we're nearly as small as their smallest state? Please stop embarrassing yourself with these moronic posts and engage your brain before posting.

    Fwiw I think the Autobahns in Germany are the best plus they have a cracking modern train infrastructure to go with it.

  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 16,288 Mod ✭✭✭✭Manic Moran

    Autobahns are certainly good. Rail system is a wash. Good for passengers, but no other country can touch the American rail network when it comes to freight.

    That said, there's some seriously impressive road-building in the US. Interstate 80 through the Sierra Nevadas was a common route of mine. I get to drive San Antonio to El Paso next weekend, it's just set the cruise control to about 85, turn on the radio, and watch nothing but desert go by for the next 500 miles. Very pleasant.

  • Registered Users Posts: 56 ✭✭Norteño

    I thought that the speed limit in America was 55?

  • Registered Users Posts: 116 ✭✭Hey2.Hey2

    The lowest maximum speed in any state is now 60 (Some parts of Minnesota) and the highest is over 80 (think 85) in parts of Texas. The majority are now 70/75/80.

    The 55 limit was introduced as a conservation method after the oil ran out in the 70s. This was introduced by the Federal government overriding state laws and lasted to the mid 90s when control was returned to individual states/counties or whoever.

    Efforts to save energy later spawned the 80s '85 mph speedometer' when speedometers could only read to 85 mph regardless of the actual top speed of the car.

  • Registered Users Posts: 7,206 ✭✭✭plodder

    I-280 from San Jose to San Francisco is a very nice, scenic drive, up in the hills over Silicon Valley.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 56 ✭✭Norteño

    I always wondered why some American cars had those...thank you.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,078 ✭✭✭salonfire

    An awful hell-hole of a place to find yourself is an American Highway. When you get sandwiched in between multiple big rigs, take comfort in the fact there is an excitable commentator whirling overheard in a helicopter broadcasting your final moments as you burn to death in a fiery wreck, watched on by families tucking into dinner in front of the TV.

  • Registered Users Posts: 56 ✭✭Norteño

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,078 ✭✭✭salonfire

    The difference between Irish and US roads is the US have worse drivers, higher speeds, more HGVs during the day, crazy police pursuits, more dangerous vehicles.

  • Registered Users Posts: 56 ✭✭Norteño

  • Registered Users Posts: 7,206 ✭✭✭plodder

    I don't know. I remember the first time I was there, I stood watching a black and white police cruiser go down the street. I was actually expecting it to do a sudden u-turn or roll over or crash into something with the officers coming out shooting, until I realised this is reality, not the movies.

  • Registered Users Posts: 14,309 ✭✭✭✭wotzgoingon

    It's a massive rich country with a large population of course they would have good roads. But saying that I was in New York and New York state and the roads aren't that great over there. You cannot compare the highways there to roads here with our tiny population.

  • Registered Users Posts: 23,627 ✭✭✭✭

    Driving in Dallas.

    The scale is so impressive and nothing remotely like it in Europe or anywhere else which is why the US is by far the only superpower. They think big and do things right. The interstate system is so big, so vast, it just does not compare with anywhere else in the world.

    How the M20 between Cork and Limerick should be 🙂

    No one can deny the engineering splendor on display.

    Post edited by on

  • Registered Users Posts: 512 ✭✭✭loco_scolo

    Awh that's nice. The roads guys are getting nostalgic for roads. Penny dropping is it?


  • Registered Users Posts: 56 ✭✭Norteño

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  • Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 12,019 Mod ✭✭✭✭Cookiemunster

    The reason you don't see roads in Europe on the scale you see them in the US is because they're not needed in Europe. Unlike the US, most of Europe has excellent public transport.

    And no the M20 should not be 4 lanes each way. Parts of it barely required a dual carriageway. A 2 lane motorway will be more than enough for decades to come.

    You seriously need to get over you fetish for US roads.

  • Registered Users Posts: 56 ✭✭Norteño

    If you've nothing nice to say, why not try saying nothing?

    No-one asked you to comment on this thread.

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,547 ✭✭✭AugustusMinimus

    There’s one thread on this forum talking about US roads. As you say, let Kermit have his thread. I don’t understand some of the replies in here.

  • Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 12,019 Mod ✭✭✭✭Cookiemunster

    Unless a mod tells me otherwise, I can comment on any thread I want to. If you don't like that, put me on ignore.

    Kermit has a long history of demanding massive US highways in Ireland and Europe and calling us a backwards because we don't build roads we don't need. I was directly responding to a post along those lines, which I'm fully entitled to do.

    BTW, if my mod powers extended to the infrastructure forum you'd have been sanctioned for questioning somebodies IQ. Maybe you should take your own advise and say nothing, if you've nothing nice to say.

  • Registered Users Posts: 23,627 ✭✭✭✭

    I think we need to think bigger in everything not only roads.

    Our metro will be a glorified tram. Why? Why not go all out? Why not be ambitious? We have the money to do it. Other places do it - some poorer than us.

    Infrastructure and future proofed scale is important and in Ireland we have always thought too small to our cost.

    Look at the M50, had they built it wide enough in the first place it would have saved us €2bn and the job is still not done. More flyovers and lanes required in places soon.

    Just do it properly the first time. That should apply to everything.

  • Registered Users Posts: 23,627 ✭✭✭✭

    In Arizona the I-17 between Flagstaff and Phoenix which runs north/south drops over 1,600m in elevation in the space of 140 miles distance. Hence it starts out with conifers and greenery with snow in the Winter, Spring, Autumn down to hot desert and cacti in Phoenix.

    Post edited by on

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,513 ✭✭✭KrisW1001

    That video is typical of the cross-section of most of the Interstate system. Pretty much the same as our Type 1 DC.

    Also in Arizona is I-19, the only highway in the USA to use Metric units on its signage.

    2K22 (EP 11) Interstate 19 in Tucson, Arizona: The Metric Interstate - YouTube

    It was built in the late 1970s and the signage was intended as a pilot for re-signing the rest of the system. This was back when the USA was still planning to adopt to the metric system by 1980. Unfortunately, Ronald Reagan got elected and he had no time for things that were new, and the plan was stalled and stalled and eventually abandoned. But the road had been opened by then, and the cost of re-signing was big enough that it was left as-was. The signs, when needed, are still replaced with metric ones, and exit numbers are numbered as km from the start of the route.

    There are some small signs of the metrication push still around: I once came across a small roadside distance sign that was in both km and miles in the wilds of San Benito County, CA.

  • Registered Users Posts: 23,627 ✭✭✭✭

    I-5 outbound Los Angeles/Orange county

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,083 ✭✭✭Rubberchikken

    God love those videos.

    A dream of mine to drive or be driven in the states. More than likely will never happen but it just sounds a fantastic experience. The skies, space the roads (and I don't care if they're not great at times😊).


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  • Registered Users Posts: 23,627 ✭✭✭✭

    Europe can only dream of roads like this (I-10 Pheonix)

This discussion has been closed.