As well as some feasible road congestion reduction options here are some off-the-cuff ways to reduce the perennial bottlenecks.
Luxembourg's roadways are choking. Of that there can no longer be any doubt. For as long as I can remember there have been roadworks and with roadworks come tailbacks. It has gotten to the point, though hotly debated, that the general public have come to accept there will be issues getting in and out of the more densely populated areas of the Grand Duchy.
This should not, of course, be the case, given that Luxembourg's government has made a good deal of noise about giant leaps taken in public transport development and accessibility.
When the tram was launched, in still incremental stages, the public knew that the knock on of the construction would cause issue. They were not, though, aware of just how big an impact this would make.
The current state of the city centre is a joke (not to put too fine a point on it) and the ministries responsible are quite rightly facing wide spread scorn. The problem is that finger-pointing and angry tweeting ain't gonna make a damned difference. The only thing that will make a dent in the congestion is a quite literal vote with the feet. That is to say ditching the machines and making a different way to and from city destinations.
No, it is not ideal. And no, I am not canvassing for the public to stage a mass protest and demand change by simply leaving their keys in the bowl (not that kind of party). After all, the government's wording is centred on the fact that for a short, painful and tediously slow few months, we will all reap the benefits of much improved traffic flows.
Say that now, however, to those stuck at the Irrgarten roundabout or to those travelling in along the A31 (our French colleges at 5Minutes said this...) and you may end up with your face flecked with spittle.
The morning routine is, despite DST (and DST deniers), largely the same. Alarm, snooze, alarm, shower, dress, car, mild sweats on the state of the roadways, a few of your own peccadilloes and vices and trudge to your chosen (sometimes) place of labour for cash exchange.
My morning commute (bearing in mind I am a German resident - house prices, growing family, not spectacular wage, all for a different op piece), is a superfluous thing.
Travelling in from the east of the country, over the German/Luxembourg burger at Wasserbilig you can generally get a feel for how things are going to be by the time you reach Potaschberg. At that stage, you'll round a corner and begin the stretch toward Flaxweiler (or F*cksweiler as it came to be known in my brain box), it is here that the twinkling red lights will begin.
Much like as the plot get's spelled out in Stranger Things (ooohhhh, topical) by fairy lights, here the red winks and blinks spell: D.E.L.A.Y.S.L.I.K.E.L.Y
I used to work for a large American bank and was fortunate that the company's location was found to be just off the motorway, by Sennigerberg in fact (so go on Columbo, figure it out) and I used to scoff at those having to push passed Hamm and on to Hesperange and Bertrange.
I used to take the train, but so frequent were the cancellations that it was soon a 50/50 if the commute was happening or not.
I did have a stint at taking the bus (116/118), but I would sit in the motorway traffic just the same as if I were driving (the plus points being I could read/watch a TV show/work - I have a fear of sleeping on public transport - and of course being more carbon neutral).
Working, as I now do, in Kirchberg, the turbo-roundabout is just about on my side...true, there's an odd and confusing lane-merger that's abused by souped-up folk in souped-up cars who I wish would spill soup all over their laps. I'm not a monster, so it can be Gazpacho rather than molten minestrone.
At least for now.
Jokes aside, as there are some inbound, with the anticipated surge in cross border population sure to bring about a bounty of vehicles, what can be done to address the situation?
The easy answers are less roadworks and fewer cars. But the public are demanding increased accessibility, which in and of itself is not an overnight thing, moreover a lot of the roadworks are related to of Luxembourg's largest bugbears, accommodation and tram services. People want free transport, that has been provided but thus far is not as far ranging as those would have wished.
I have little to no experience of travelling during peak times from or to Belgium or France - aside from some pesky appointments when filming for Crossfire Luxembourg (whose videos grace this very site) and my attempts to play sims such as Civilisation or SimCity always result in a terrible, terrible existence for those unfortunate to live in my realm. We start off reasonably sensible.
- Congestion charge of non-city residents. I know, there will be many that harrumph BUT a congestion charge that is priced above...let's say the combi-cost for P&R outside the city confines and can be proven to be quicker must be a slice of fried gold that everyone would want. Right?
- Increased P&R facilities. Ones that actually have spaces AND are easy to get in and out of. Traffic jams leaving a parking place are kind of oxymoronic.
- Greater subsidies, or indeed, the introduction of subsidies for those that are using more efficient travel. i.e higher emissions tax for four car families (that are employing fossil fuels) and lower levies against those that opt for greener modes of travel. At least matching those for Germany.
- Free public transport...oh no, wait, that's already done.
- A no car zone from within 2km2 of the city. Only public transport allowed: Tram, Scooter, Bus, Taxis....Piggybacks (see below).
- Greater pressure on businesses to provide/suggest/enforce shared travel from P&R facilities.
- Employ the army to allow for timetabled flyovers and parachute drops - buy three for the price of four.
- Wait for Amazon to finally deploy their drone fleet, lobby the Government to allow for said drone flights to operate door to desk round trips. We can even get sponsored hand grips and deliver packages at the same time (watch for tax laws, though).
- Craft an enormous tower, to which we attach myriad ziplines, these, in turn are tethered to the aforementioned park and rides. In some cases (with premium pass subscription) these will zip you right back to your convertible (provided roof is down*) and have your seat sufficiently warmed in winter and the air con on in summer.
- Hoverboards for all - we actually did this as an April Fool's earlier this year.
- Installing of moving floors, such as those in airports, from the three main border service stations ALL THE WAY to the centre of the city.
- Increase WFH time (working from home). Quite a reasonable option really, except that corporations don't yet trust staff to be 'honest' workers.
- Encourage Start Ups to dump traditional means of transport and offer favourable rates to bike taxis, rickshaws etc etc
- PiggyBack Wednesdays - I'm actually all for this one, every Wednesday, drawn up by national lottery, piggybacks are mandatory.
- State mandated road usage reduction. As recently rolled out in India...those whose licence plates end in odd numbers can't drive on Mondays. Those with even can't drive on Tuesdays and so on. Those with personalized license plates are banned forever.
- Use Luxembourg's water ways. Submarines, boat taxis, paddle boards. Could be an issue around duck race time, however.
- Xavier Bettel and other such chauffeured dignitaries offer hop in and hop out pick ups when on their official business.
- As mentioned in the venerable Wurst, additional lanes could be painted on the existing roadways, forcing people to buy thinner cars.
- Borrow the Eagles of Manwë (at least one LoTR fan will snort into his/her cup of Pumpkin Spice Latte).
- A brokered partnership with an insurance company whereby roller skates are offered to those who earn under a specific wage ceiling.
- The raising of every land mass in the Grand Duchy not already above the height of the city centre, so that border workers can enjoy a nice downhill roll via Rodelbahn (and of course the building of such) by means of stilts and/or man made mounds.
- Using the already reasonably widespread network of underground caves and passages to provide subterranean transport systems.
- Anyone born after the year 2000 can be installed with Heely-grafts - a relatively painless operation that may result in some wheel related bumps and bruises, especially when dealing with stairways.
- Attach foot straps, not unlike ski bindings to the roofs of buses so that the more daring may be able to roof-surf their way to work.
- More funiculars. Even where there is no need for them...add them. Looks great on Instagram posts.
- Drone powered 'driver-less' buses. Use cross border workers, but house the facilities 'over the border'. Much like how the US are operational in the middle east while still on American soil. This will increase traffic flow, and, depending on the amount of pilot contracts, drastically reduce the number of workers coming over the invisible line.
- Glass lifts everywhere. People go mad for them. Vertical, horizontal, diagonal. Get them built. Just a thought about the window cleaning bill, though.
- Or, better still Futurama tranportation tubes. SIGN. ME. UP.
- With the use of monstrous cranes, simply pick up the city and place it in a more accessible location....like, say Timbuktu.
- Taking a leaf from science fiction, go full on Mortal Engines style and have mobile cities roaming the wastelands battling it out for resources. My money would be on Dudelange punching above weight.
- Wait for Etienne Schneider to get us (that's Luxembourg) to the moon. Then, we will look down on those toiling below, with a barely contained contempt. That is, until, we realize that diesel and coffee is a pain to import.
- Attach a network of Endorian rope bridges from numerous City Skyliners. This heightened walkway will be of huge benefit to workforce and tourists alike.
- The construction of gargantuan, multi-tier overpasses. Ones so huge that they block out the sun (we don't see it for 48 weeks of the year anyway). Ape those in Vietnam and craft them from the hands of national sporting treasure Bob Bertemes.
- Grow trees and shrubs at the border to prevent any access. In other words, (adopts Trumpian bellow) "CLOSE THE BORDERS!"
- Further gentrify and segregate the population into those able to travel distances by certain means and those that cannot: Scootersburg, Bikerdange, Smartassberch, Velohillig.
- Host annual games Mad Max/Death Race style, where the losers lose the vehicular rights, until only one shall remain. "Witness me!"
*no responsibility or liability for injury and/or adverse weather
Please feel free to send in your own ideas and suggestions, however sincere or outlandish these may be via email@example.com
Stephen Lowe is a freelance journalist, editor with RTL Today, a freelance DJ on Eldoradio and a short film director/producer.