Local authorities

Question: are all local authorities the same? Or, as my old Zimbabwean friends would say: do they all have the same mother?

Exhibit HERE: when the Autoroute de lAéroport was built, only a few short years ago, it bisected the lovely village of Yoff. ExhibitTHERE: the same occurred in the 1960s, when the village of Badhoevedorp (where I grew up) was cut in two unequal parts by the A9 motorway.

The one in Yoff is level with the surrounding area and… I just remember, I wrote about this here and don’t have to repeat myself any more unnecessarily that I do already…

Now – here comes the point.

When the road was finished, people still wanted to cross to go shopping, see their family, go to work, see their friends and so on. As there was the grand total on ZERO footbridges, people set about crossing the lethal sixlaner on foot. Dangerous, definitely. Got a better idea?

Well yes: bridges of course! There is today a grand total of TWO, about a mile apart and (of course) not at the one point where it would have made the most sense, i.e.: where people actually cross. So the daily death-defying runs across l’Autoroute remain.

Until yesterday.

Sharp whistles rang out. The sound, which usually conjures up images of bent traffic cops trying to extract some cash from wily taxi drivers, came from gendarmes who were, for the first time ever, actually preventing people from crossing the road!

The road in weston. Pic taken from one of those bridges, just two hours after a kerosine tanker had crashed, October 2009.

The road in question. Pic taken from one of those bridges, just two hours after a kerosine tanker had crashed on the day I moved into my apartment, October 2009.

So this is the solution the powers that be come up with: do not, whatever you do, come up with a solution that would actually be popular – no. Do not, under any circumstance, build a bridge that people may actually want to use. No: use enforcement instead. And leave the undesirable situation in place. That way, everybody wins, no?

Incidentally, that awful road in my old village is of course still there – noise 24/7, elevated six metres into the sky and going on for miles. Another Exhibit THERE: Amsterdam municipality has decided to build the most expensive piece of pipe humankind has ever seen so that it can also say: we have an Underground, saddling generations of Amsterdammers with a grotesquely inflated local tax bill.

I’d welcome more examples of administrative insanity, I’m sure there’s loads. Not that they ever learn anything but it’s fun exchanging the horror stories. Meanwhile, the gendarmes will certainly be back. Not holding my breath as to when that third footbridge will be built…

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