Heaven for Buses?

photo: l'oree du parc, rue st jacques

And if heaven is full, this café's terrace near the Rue Saint-Jacques has plenty of room.

Backballs vs Blue Flags

Paris:- Monday, 25. June 2001:- This summer in Paris should be the occasion of some quite unusual traffic jams, and these will be caused by a city plan to give buses exclusive priority lanes.

Instead of a simple line on the pavement, Denis Baupin, deputy mayor for streets and transports, has announced that buses will get proper corridors, and these will be slightly wider so that they can be shared with cyclists.

In streets where there are shops and boutiques, the bus lane will be marked off from the rest of the street by a raisedphoto: fete musique, kids, paris 2008 blimp 70 centimetre-wide sidewalk. Outside of rush hours delivery trucks will be able to park next to it to load or unload.

On a street that is four lanes in width now, this will leave three lanes - two for delivery trucks, on either side of a single lane for through traffic.

For Thursday's Fête de la Musique, Paris sent over its 'Oui 2008' blimp promoting its Olympic bid.

The effect will be to give buses their own streets - which can't be used by any other traffic that might hinder them. It is hoped this will raise a bus's average speed from nine to 14 kilometres per hour - which would be a solid 50 percent gain.

Summer is the traditional time for street works in Paris. All drivers who dream of having free and easy circulation are deluded, and with this summer's begin on the construction of 40 kilometres of these new style bus lanes, the situation will be more chaotic than usual.

This initial work is expected to last five months and 72 bus lines are expected to benefit from it. Buses already have 148 kilometres of corridors in the city. The ultimate goal is to turn the bus network into a sort of métro on the surface.

It goes without saying that various other road users are not too happy with the plan. But the idea is to dissuade them, and one way to make the pill less bitter is to make the buses faster.

Backballs vs Blue Flags

Normally at this time of year the papers print a list of all the French beaches that are so clean and tidy that they receive the coveted 'Blue Flag,' which they can fly and which means they have been approved by a system of European 'goodbeachkeeping.'

And normally at this time of year I mention it and wish everybody a happy holiday. Last year's ikky oil-spill clouded this picture a bit, although it was not France's fault - and just to be mean, the weather hit the season with a low blow.

In fact, 425 beaches in 189 places have received the 'Blue Flag' this year according to Le Parisien. But for some reason the paper has chosen to headline the findings of an organizationphoto: fete musique, cafe d'enfer known as the Surfrider Foundation, which has awarded 93 blackballs to 1697 beaches it has tested - in 2000.

The Fête de la Musique, combined with the Rue Daguerre's sun and shadows.

The paper goes on to report that the European Court of Justice has also declared France guilty of not fulfilling its obligations to control the beaches, according to a 1995 edit. If this court had its way, it would ban bathing at 100 beaches near 57 different seaside communities.

It appears as if there are three major forms of pollution. Many places have only inadequate sewage treatment, and the natural runoff of chemicals used for farming washes down rivers to the seas.

Out on the high sea - but not far enough out - many ships continue to illegally flush out their tanks, using the sea as a toilet - which France can't do a lot about.

Since the paper has not given any locations for the 'Blue Flags' this year, it is impossible to know if they are entirely different from the blackballed beaches - or if some are good enough for one and bad enough for the other at the same time.

I assume that beaches awarded blackballs will not advertise them - but beaches who have been awarded the 'Blue Flag' will. Keep your eyes open.

Fun at Le Bourget

A Swiss firm, having a commercial payments fight with Russia, asked a French court for an order to seize two Russian jet fighters that were appearing at the air show at Le Bourget.

However, the two aircraft left the air show on Friday - in a hurry - with the permission of French and European authorities.

Apparently the seizure of one of the planes had been announced in Moscow at noon. This was confirmed by the Swiss company and in turn confirmed by France's Foreign Office, but denied by Russia's embassy in Paris.

The two planes disappeared from public view, and later scooted off in the air around 15:00.

With Président Chira about to make a state visit to Moscow, Russia's ambassador to France guessed that unknown persons were trying to make Mr. Chirac's visit difficult in advance.

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