URBAN EYES is a critical design concept combining RFID technology, aerial photography and pigeons to create an explorative experience for urban spaces. This Blog is a documentation of the project's development and related issues and articles list.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Let it snow

On friday 25th november 2005, the netherlands were hit by a surprisingly intensive snowfall and rainstorm in the south and east of the country, resulting in one of the biggest traffic jams, an estimated 800km plus numerous accidents, road blocks and even power cuts, due to broken tree branches. Schiphol airport also reported massive delays and cancelled flights as it was only able to use a single runway.

From our point of view: Valentina and me left Rotterdam at about 12.00am for Hengelow and we entered the snow zone, a reported 30cm+ snowfall right after Utrecht, which kept on getting whiter and stormier by the km. Our first unprogrammed stop happened about 3km before Apeldoorn, due to our train colliding with a car's hanger, noone harmed, but a stop for nearly 2 hours till it was cleaned up. Yet just about on the next crossing ahead, a stuck truck stopped our journey again, not moving back nor forth blocking the rails. Another half an hour later and after receiving information that already 6 lines are down due to branches, etc. the traindriver finally decides to drive back to the previous town due to the truck not moving, resulting in a rebellious traveller pulling the emergency break. Another painful half an hour later, we finally get going but the truck was finally pulled away and we arrive at Apeldorn at last. 17.00 and being 2 hours late for our meeting, we had cancelled an hour ago and decide to go back to Rotterdam. Yet again, lucky lucky, just as we arrive, trains are getting cancelled and chaos reports come spilling in no trains, no busses and no cars(taxis) whatsoever. Whilst waiting at the train station, power failure is experienced. Lights uncontrollably go out and on again, kids start crying and comments flying.
Hours later all hotels booked out, the town hall is turned into a crisis center, broodjes and koffie is handed out. People are slowy filling up the waiting hall, I count about 100 in the end. Mobiles are used, credits are running out.
24:00, the city managed to get us a space at the local army barrack's gym. We arrive, split up in Buben and Maedchens, the guys toilets manage to experience a 2cm high water puddle, due to melting snow as we all hope.
Slowly matresses arrive along with duvets and pillows, simple but warm. As far as I can tell from the men's department, it wasn't as smelly as I expected and we had few snorers, yet the light in the gym seemed to be motion-triggered or timebased, resulting in another switch-on and occasional additional stranded guests till about a good 4:00 am.
Somehow we managed to organize a car to the train station at 7am, skipping the city-planned 9am mass-transit, trains were running, we catch a train to rotterdam after 5 minutes and Valentina reaches Schiphol in time(to my knowledge).

Only winner Rob, who couldn't make it to the meeting on friday, he must have know this to happen cause he is dutch!

How fragile physical networks can be...
I had to double post this one.

Help for stranded travellers article (dutch)


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