Saturday, December 8, 2007

The most unusual streets of the world

Yonge Street - the longest street in the world, with a length of 1,896 kilometres (1,178 mi)..

There are many well known streets in Toronto with many places to shop or be entertained, but perhaps the best known is Yonge Street (pronounced Young Street). To say the least, it is a lively, industrious, busy, interesting, and a "do not miss" location for your visit to Toronto! It has the reputation of being the longest street in the world and as traffic is usually quite busy, it is best to know where you need to access it. Every kind of goods, services, food, drink, & entertainment seem to be in abundance here! It is lively, but not rowdy. It has a certain edge to it, but does not seem to threaten. A stroll down Yonge Street is an introduction to the many cultures and nationalities that become Toronto. All seem to coexist in a polite respect and all are represented with places to shop, eat, drink, and socialize! From driving what seemed to have been the length of the longest street in the world, I think I can safely say that whatever you are looking for is looking back at you here! The pictures posted are a view of Yonge from several views, but certainly not inclusive of all as these pictures are gathered from my 3 or 4 block perspective from my hotel. The first picture gives you an idea of the activity and enterprise that happens here. The second one is of some swanky place that I could not afford while the third pic provided an interesting picture of a church. Ok, not like the churches back home, I guess... The last one here was nice for me because of the dark shadows while Sunshine illuminates the sky.

Baldwin Street
The world's steepest street. It is located in the suburb of North East Valley, 3.5 kilometres northeast of Dunedin's (New Zealand) city centre. It climbs an awesome slope to history in suburban Dunedin, New Zealand - not hilly San Francisco, craggy Cumbria or alpine Switzerland. Baldwin Street runs off a main road just minutes from the centre of the city. The little street lifts gently then rears up dramatically only to stop dead on the hillside after 34 houses. Baldwin Street IS steep - maximum gradient 1 in 2.9 angle over 38 degrees.

9 de Julio Avenue, Buenos Aires, Argentina
The Widest Street in the World. The avenue's unusual width is due to the fact that it spans an entire city block, the distance between two streets in the checkerboard pattern used in Buenos Aires. The distance between adjacent streets is roughly 110 meters, greater than the equivalent distance in Manhattan, New York, USA. The street flanking 9 de Julio to the east is called Carlos Pellegrini (north of Rivadavia) and Bernardo de Irigoyen (south of Rivadavia). The street flanking 9 de Julio to the west is called Cerrito (north of Rivadavia) and Lima (south of Rivadavia).
The avenue was first planned in 1888 with the name of Ayohuma, but works did not start until 9 July 1937. The main stretch of the avenue was completed in the 1960s. The southern connections were completed in 1980 as part of the construction of the tollway system, which required massive demolitions in the area next to Plaza ConstituciĆ³n (which became the only major traffic highway in the city center) and the forced relocation of thousands of residents.
Crossing the avenue at street level often requires a few minutes, as all intersections have traffic lights. Under normal walking speed, it takes pedestrians normally two to three green lights to cross it. Some urban planners have submitted projects to move the central part of the avenue underground, to alleviate the perceived "chasm" between both sides of the avenue.

Lombard Street
The curvest road in the world in use by vehicles. It winds up a long hill. Not friendly to large vehicles.
Although Lombard is a major boulevard, actually part of US highway 101 west of Russian Hill, and a major thoroughfare that leads almost without interruption down to the Embarcadero on the east side of the Financial District, the one block section between Hyde and Leavenworth Streets on Russian Hill is it's real claim to fame. In 1922, property owner Carl Henry recommended the 8 switchback design to compensate for the natural 27% slope that was found too difficult for vehicles and pedestrians to climb or descend. While the wider east and west sides of Lombard are bidirectional streets, this section of Lombard is one-way, descending from the top of the Russian Hill. Built in 1923, the street is paved with bricks and landscaped between the sharp turns with flowers. This is a residential neighborhood, and tour buses are not permitted to drive down the street. Wikipedia reports that among the many steep streets in San Francisco, many of them right on Russian Hill, Vermont Street, between 20th and 22nd Streets, is the only arguably steeper crooked street in the city. However, Vermont street has only seven turns and is hidden behind San Francisco General Hospital.

Swindon's Magic Roundabout - the most complex roundabout.

The Magic Roundabout in Swindon, England, was constructed in 1972 and consists of one large roundabout containing five mini-roundabouts. It is an innovative system which was constructed after consultation with the British Road Research Laboratory. Traffic flow around the larger, inner roundabout is actually anti-clockwise, whereas traffic flows in the usual clockwise manner around the five mini-roundabouts and the outer loop.

Although the complex comes as a shock to the newcomer, it is simple enough to traverse if each mini-roundabout is approached as a separate entity in turn. Local and regular users are proficient at traversing the complex which offers multiple paths between feeder roads. The flow rate of the complex is still highly impressive, and is reckoned to be better than a modern junction could offer. Virtually the same overall configuration has been in place for over 30 years.

When the roundabout complex was first opened, the mini-roundabouts were not permanently marked out and could be re-configured whilst the layout was fine tuned. A police officer was stationed at each mini roundabout during this pilot phase to oversee how drivers coped with the unique arrangement.

Such was the success of the Magic Roundabout that plans were considered to build a similar complex just a short distance away, to replace the traditional Greenbridge roundabout. The plan was not developed.

sources,, wikipedia

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