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Vienna, the capital of Austria and fourth in size and political importance of the great cities of Europe, originated in ancient times at an important intersection of transcontinental routes where the old road from the Adriatic over the eastern extension of the Tyrolean Alps, on the way to northern Germany crosses the east and west highway of the Danube, where the latter emerges from the mountains of southern Bohemia on to the plains of Austria. Its location still remains an important traffic intersection, and it has extensive rail communication with the other important capitals of Europe. Its population is over 2,000,000. It occupies an extensive flat area between the hills to the westward and the Danube on the east.
With the exception of a few heavy grades, the streets are fairly level. The old city is surrounded by the finest line of boulevards on the site of the older fortifications existing in any of the European capitals, within which lies the usual collection of old irregular narrow streets and beyond which the city has spread on all sides out to a surrounding ring of railway terminals and manufactories. Along the eastern boundary of the old city is the Danube Canal, on whose eastern bank the broad Franz-Josef Quai connects the two ends of the semicircular line of boulevards known as the Ringstrasse. Under the Franz-Josef Quai runs an underground rapid transit railway operated by steam locomotives, which circles the city and connects the principal railway terminals. On the opposite side of the canal, which is crossed by numerous bridges and in reality an arm of the Danube of about the width of the Seine in Paris, lies an area of a mile or more in width, between it and the main channel of the Danube, containing not only the city's principal park and theatre district, but two of the main railway terminals and some of the poorer districts, as well as manufactories and wharves along the Danube. To the south, west and north beyond the Ringstrasse, the streets run out on an irregular radial system through the regions containing other railway terminals, the poorer quarters, manufacturing regions, and beyond all a region of better class suburban residences and parks.
The total length of city streets in the metropolitan district is 676.34 miles. The areas of the different classes of pavement are as follows:
34,725.86 Unpaved, macadamized or graveled.
New pavements and all repaving work are done by contract for all amounts over $600. For the maintenance of streets in good condition contracts are made for a period of three years, all work beng paid for by actual measurement of new construction. All materials purchased are required to conform to specifications and be accompanied by official legalized test certificates. The authorities have no definite opinion as to the wearing qualities of different types of surface employed, nor any information as to the number of street openings annually made, which, however, is great. No pipe galleries or subways for underground structures other than the rapid transit subway are in existence. Pipes for water, gas, sewers, etc., are under the roadways, and cable conduits for the use of the wires of the Imperial Royal Post & Telegraph Direction are laid under the footpaths. The city railways company is required to maintain pavement within cartracks for a width of 8.3 feet for one-track lines and of 18.34 feet for double-track lines. The municipal building department has charge of public works and controls directly, through one of its divisions, the work of street paving and maintenance. Street cleaning, pipe laying, lighting, etc., are controlled by special branches of other departments.
The great majority of streets in Vienna are paved with large square granite blocks from 8 to 10 inches on a side laid in diagonal courses on sand or gravel foundation. Frequently curb is constructed of a row of similar block set somewhat higher at the edge of the roadway with a sidewalk of small stones. The best paved streets, of which more are constantly being constructed at the present time, are laid with rock asphalt or wood. Wood pavements are mainly of soft wood like those of Paris, and while in fair condition, like the latter show some signs of decay. The blocks are generally laid at an angle of 45 degrees with the curb, instead of at right angles, as is more common elsewhere. Asphalt pavements are generally very fine. This material is laid on a large extent of the Ringstrasse. This line of variously named boulevards has a total width of 187 feet, divided into sidewalks, two service roadways, two parkways and a central driveway. The tramway tracks are laid in or adjacent to the parkways.
There is an extensive system of tramways in Vienna operated both by the overhead conductor and slot conductor system, the latter with slot adjacent to one of the tram rails. The latter system includes all the tracks within the boulevards in the inner city. Many of the lines are arranged to operate on both systems over different parts of their routes.
The stone paved streets have frequently very irregular surface and are not in very good condition; being without foundation or solid joints they are liable to settlement and are very dusty. In many cases where the street is on grade, the cross-section is paved on several levels transversely. Many sidewalks are constructed of large paving blocks and are as rough as the roadways. There is a small amount of compressed asphalt block, but the present practice is to resur
The Donau Canal, looking east towards Ferdinand's Bridge; FranzJosef Quai on right over Municipal Subway, in which steam locomotives are operated. Ventilation is secured by openings shown between the bridges adjacent to the Canal.
VIENNA Intersection of Karthnerstrasse and Karthner Ring, showing more of the usual old stone pavement. Advertising kiosk in the parkway, which, however, does not prevent American style billboard display.
VIENNA Central roadway on the Ringstrasse separated by the two parkways from the service roads. Showing typical Vienna stone pavement and side slot tramway construction; covered waiting point for tramway passengers on right. Showing diagonal courses characteristic of Vienna pavements.
VIENNA In front of the Opera House. Maintenance gang at work on stone pavement. Note flower basket on the lamp-pole characteristic of this city.