Germany you should – a series (part x+1)

Outside my building, which is located all the way at the edge of campus, and literally is the last building in urban Freising, a new road is being built. They’ve been building this thing since I arrived here, now more than one and a half years ago. The situation I think was as follows. The road was rather straight and there was very little wrong with it in the first place. Pretty much next to our building, there was a junction – with traffic lights and all – which connected a road from campus to the main road. Now I don’t know who decides these things, and to be frank, I don’t want to know. But someone decided the world needed a connection between this road and a highway quite far away. Between this road and the highway there is a bunch of nature conservation area, as well as the neighborhood of Vötting (where I live). It is of course never a great idea to build a new provincial road through a nature conservation area, and well, I, like most other people that live there, prefer Vötting to be quiet and boring. We have enough noise from the airport (which I can see from my living room window).

So a genius came up with the idea to build a tunnel that would go straight under Vötting and would come out at the other side of it. The tunnel would then connect to the existing road, around the location of where the old junction used to be. The junction itself was to be replaced by a huge roundabout, that would connect all of the loose ends together. The tunnel was already built when I arrived, and for a very long time very little seemed to happen in the construction site, but since the new year, parts of the roundabout have started to appear. In the past three to four weeks, someone must have told the workers to hurry up and finish, because more happened in the past couple of weeks than in all the months before.

This is not really about the construction sites. Although, Germany, you should really get your shit together and do something about these Baustellen all over the place. They take forever.

This is more about the chaos that is surrounding all the building sites. It seems like every time a temporary alternative route needs to be suggested, German road workers freak out and start putting signs all over the place. Signs that point in no direction. Signs that point in opposite direction. Signs that point toward each other. Signs without a direction. I had noticed it before in other areas all over Germany. Last week it occurred to me that signs were oddly placed all over campus. Some with pedestrian symbols, some without. Arrows all over the place. My wife and I even joked about two signs, spaced about two meters from each other on either side of a foot path, both depicting a pedestrian and a bent arrow pointing towards the foot path. Useful, but hardly an alternative or new route, so we didn’t see the need for the signs. This afternoon I was having a chat with a colleague next to the cul-de-sac created by this construction site. It became the stage of many confused drivers not having a clue where to go next. I guess they were following some of the newly placed signs and got confused too.

In The Netherlands we always joke about Belgium, and their road blocks, and poor (or lack of) signposting are a common themes for silliness. However, I think we have a new contestant in our midst.

Germany, you should really get your signposting straight. I have been kind enough to point several people in the right direction, but at some point you’re gonna have to pay me. (Or is this what it means to have a ‘public servant’ contract?)

Published by Robin Heinen

Father of two | Husband | Entomologist and Ecologist | Postdoctoral Researcher @ TUM | Traveler | Coffee Addict

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