Cristian Livadaru's blog

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Driving in Kiev

So we finally have 4 wheels to move around again :)
Last week I went to sixt to pick up the car, it’s a Skoda Fabia 1.2L. This is not quite the best car for Kiev. The size is OK but the 1.2 engine is really really lazy when going up hill (which you have to do really often in Kiev). Nevertheless, it brings me from A to B and when going up hill it just takes a bit longer. I can live with that.
Driving in Kiev isn’t that bad as expected. I actually kind of like it, at least when there are no traffic jams. The only thing that really pisses me of is that it’s sometimes hard to find out where you are. On some streets you have the street names written somewhere but quite often it’s not written anywhere or very hard visible. What makes it a bit harder is that it’s written in Cyrillic. I can read now but I’m not the fastest in reading cyrillic which makes it even more complicated when I have to drive.
But I did finally manage to get to a point yesterday that was familiar and so I managed to get home. This morning I missed a right turn which ended up in a 10km drive trough Kiev since I didn’t find any possibility to turn. This is another bad thing when on driving on large streets trough Kiev, if you miss a turn it might take some time to find a possibility to turn.
So after turning I was back on track. I got to a big intersection which I already know from last month while going by taxi to work.

Picture 69
It’s the intersection where Бульв. Дружбы Народов, Просп. 40-Летя Октября and Краснозвездный просп. meet. This is a point that you really want to avoid! Don’t go there if there is a way to go around it. It takes about 30 min to get out of there.
There are 3 lanes coming from one direction, 2 more lanes are added, so you have 5 lanes on Бульв. Дружбы Народов which after the intersection with Краснозвездный просп. end up on Просп. 40-Летя Октября as 2 lanes (or rather 1.5 lanes at the beginning) due to the huge construction site that blocked most of the road. That is a real bottleneck which I will avoid from now on.
But the city transforms itself in drivers paradise in the weekend. It’s like 70% of the cars disappear over the weekend. In some regions, for example where the apartment is, you have the feeling like you are alone on the streets. In most cities I have been to weekends you have less traffic but not like this. It’s like Dr. Jekyll und Mr. Hyde.
So until now I can’t really complain to much about the traffic. If they had better street signs so that I could see where I am, this would make life a bit easier.
But after all we still found our way around the city, so we will also get over this small barrier :)
Oh yes, what I forgot, there are all kind of ways drivers here try to avoid to get stuck in traffic. Things that include driving on the sidewalk, going trough the construction site to get near the traffic light and many other things. It’s nothing that surprises me, but one thing did surprise me yesterday, a public transport bus cutting traffic by driving on the sidewalk. This was new, didn’t see that anywhere else until now. :)

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