Sunday, October 25, 2009

Appreciating Paris Metro’s Teachable Moments

Our stroll today on this little vacation we’re on didn’t start out to be about transit, and in fact, most of it wasn’t. But we couldn’t help but notice as we walked beneath the Paris Metro along Boulevard de Grenelle that grade-separated transit was what we were seeing – the kind Honolulu will build.

Although most of the Paris Metro system is below ground, some segments are above grade – and we can’t help but emphasize that none of it runs in the mix of traffic. The French got that one right from the very start, way back at the end of the 19th century.

Only when we looked at today’s photos did we notice the subtle way that foliage is used to soften the view of the elevated structure. That’s especially true when you back away from the line a block or so, as seen below.

Other characteristics were much more obvious -- especially how street traffic and the Metro trains coexist without any concern whatsoever for one another, as the photos suggest. It would have been even more obvious if we had stuck around long enough to take a shot showing cars and trucks passing beneath the elevated line as a train passed over the intersection of Grenelle and Quai Branly.

Our final contribution to the little photo gallery is another form of grade-separated transit – accentuating the vertical!

Notice how the trees partially mask the structure.

At a distance the line is even less obvious.

Cars pass beneath the Metro line at Quai Branly.

A few minutes later, a Metro train passes overhead.

Another view of busy street traffic below the line.

And if cars had been there, still no problem.

A different kind of overhead transit.

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