Obama halts Warsaw

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Warsaw traffic at 17:15 today. Traffic map courtesy Targeo.pl

(Click image to see an enlarged image. Click here to see the current traffic situation in Warsaw.)

Following a working session with G8 leaders and an ‘expanded G8 working lunch’ in Deauville, France, President Obama landed in Warsaw’s Chopin airport at 17:30 local time 20 minutes ahead of schedule. Roads leading from the airport to Marriot and at other locations which the President was likely to visit had been closed from early afternoon. Warsaw traffic was brought to a standstill in many places. The road closures have been strongly criticised – while many roads in Warsaw were closed to vehicles hours before the President’s plane touched down, in London they were only closed when Obama’s motorcade actually started its journey.

But the real culprits are Warsaw’s transport planners who have neglected the role that light rail and semi-metro could play in solving Warsaw’s congestion problems. With rail links woefully inadequate (see our earlier story) Warsaw commuters are understandably difficult to prize out of their motor cars. With Central and Eastern European heads of state arriving since in Warsaw ready for their dinner at the Presidential palace – road closures and traffic jams have been commonplace since Thursday. Yet today many commuters choose to sit in their snarled up cars for three hours rather than risk the rail transport alternatives.

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2 Responses to “Obama halts Warsaw”

  1. David Hughes Says:

    Ah … memories of last year when Metallica had the same effect. The slow traffic did at least enable me to spot Tx1123 at the side of Ul Bitwy Warszawskiej 1920 R. On that occasion, Polish railways failed to get someone to Warsaw and therefore to his room at the Marriott which was then re-let: to me.

  2. John Says:

    The virulently pro-car realities of recent years really mount up. It is all so petty too – the withdrawal of the trolleybus route when the vehicles were worn out, the poor information about the existing local rail services, the failure to install footways by some of the roads. There is quite a good tram – train service here but when a shopping centre was built right alongside, the planners put no entrance door facing that way. They lost my business at Warszawa Wlochy when I was in that area for a while because of the unstaffed station not even having a ticket machine. So much that could be fairly easily done, left undone…

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