Thursday, August 14, 2008

Sziget festival angers, charms cyclist

View Larger Map

Oh brother. I realize that I've been duped by the Sziget Festival's slick communications. In my previous post, I praised the organisers for having a free-of-charge, attended parking facility for bicycles. Somehow, this little gesture distracted me from the bigger picture, which is that the Sziget's ticket booths at the main entrance completely block the main north-south bike path on the Buda side.

I don't know why I forgot to mention this -- I commute everyday between Budapest and Szentendre, and during the week of Sziget it becomes virtually impossible to get past the Filitorigat HÉV stop due to the logjam of humanity coming on and off the island. No exageration -- the line of people between the HÉV stop and the festival entrance fully occupies about 200 metres of the path, and the few times I tried to get through it with my bike, it took an eternity (well maybe 15-20 minutes -- but that's a hell of a long time to bike 200 metres).

Anyway, I hate being a crank -- especially as I know the Sziget Festival has been barraged by cranks from the day it started back in the early 1990s. Still, this is a serious inconvenience for those of us who commute on this path on a daily basis and I felt I should at least raise the issue just to make sure organisers know it IS an issue.

So I sent a non-cranky note of complaint, and two days later I got this thoughtful, non-cranky reply.

Dear Greg,

Thank you for contacting us.

I see what you are talking about. The problem is, that there is no other place where we could put the ticket offices (we can not build them on the highway, can we?). Unfortunatelly the bicycle road is by the bridge where our visitors comes in. So even, if our tents would not be there it would be a big problem to cross the junction with the bike, as people are crossing it non stop.

However, the bikers still can use the road in this junction. And than return to the bicycle route. (The police has closed the Jégtörő street for cars but not for bikers.)

There are 3,5 days left.... So please have patient. It will be over soon.

Thank you for your understanding.
Best wishes,

This note is really nice. My only quibble would be its unconscious, car-centric prejudice: "We can not build them on the highway, can we?" If it were up to me, that's EXACTLY where I'd build them. Afterall, the only thing the highway is used for is cars -- and I think I speak for about 9 people when I say -- who gives a damn about cars?

But other than that, this was an exceptionally conscientious reply and I'm inclined to drop the issue right here. For the week of the festival, I'm taking a detour out onto the highway, Route 11, which is very busy (read "choked with motor traffic") but I already ride on it for part of my commute so it's not a big deal.

Incidentally, the option that INFO suggested in his/her reply is a good one. Jégtörő út is the name of the quay road next to Filitorigat. With it being closed to motor traffic, it makes a convenient and scenic way to cycle between the festival and downtown Budapest.

Anyway, looks like with a little understanding, biking and rocking can still go hand in hand.

1 comment:

dalos said...

fyi: plus an even bigger and longer problem on this section: