Thursday, 15 November 2007

The strike- day 2

The transportation strike is still on today and evening rush hour was zany. I decided to walk, bike or bus to the meeting I was hoping to get to. (Some buses and trains continue to run during the strike).

I headed out from our house and looked for an available Vélib’ on rue de Courcelles, but none were available. On the way, I saw a bus 92 coming up the street. I ran around the corner to see if a 92 was going to be heading down toward Étoile. There were a couple of people waiting at the stop, but no bus in sight.

I decided to begin walking to the meeting, while keeping an eye out for available bikes at the Vélib’ stations, or a bus heading my way. No buses, no bikes.

As I get closer to Étoile, I see there is a bus 92 ahead. I wonder if I can catch up to it. I can because traffic isn't moving. I see another 92 ahead and think maybe I'll take that one. Again, I caught up to it because it was going nowhere. I ended up walking all the way to the Arc de Triomphe at Étoile and thought about taking a bus just to cross over all those dang streets. But not only was the street I was on jammed with traffic, all the way around the Arc de Triomphe, not a car was moving. There was no way I was getting on a bus. I had the freedom of movement with my feet on the pavement. I imagined being frantically trapped on the bus, and was relieved I didn't get on one.

I start crossing over all the streets to get to Avenue Marceau which is 5 "rays of the star" away. Along the way it became more and more difficult to walk. Cars were jamming the streets, and now the motor scooters were taking over the sidewalks. There were scooters snaking around cars and pedestrians. It was bedlam. I'm glad I was without the kids. It was quite unsafe, and I was surprised that all these scooters were getting away with this. They would take over the crosswalk and then enter the sidewalk to the next street, and take to the crosswalk again. It's as if they fancied themselves pedestrians.

Once I got to my street and headed away from Étoile, I heard the sound of police cars heading there. "Good, they need to do something", I said aloud.

As I returned from my meeting at about 9:00, traffic had died down considerably and this time there were some police in the streets directing traffic. Scooters had returned to the streets, and it was again safe to be a pedestrian.

I kept hoping all the way back that I'd find an available Vélib’, but no such luck. Every station was completely barren of bikes.

If President Sarkozy and the unions continue to dig in their heels, I have just one request. More Vélibs, s'il vout plaît.

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