L'Ombre de l'Olivier

The Shadow of the Olive Tree

being the maunderings of an Englishman on the Côte d'Azur

17 January 2007 Blog Home : January 2007 : Permalink

IKEA Mougins & Traffic Jams

The debate about the proposed IKEA store in "Mougins" is still ongoing although those against it seem to be losing. I blogged about this in October where I explained that the Mayor of Mougins loves it because it won't affect his village while the Mayour of Mouans Sartoux hates it because it will exacerbate the dire traffic problems in that village. Many of us in the area have wondered why this site had to be chosen and wondered why IKEA could not fit in near Carrefour in Nice Lingostière, we wonder even more now that it has been announced that this park is going to be expanded.

The problem with the IKEA Mougins idea, one skated over in the presentations at the pourIkeaMougins blog, is that it is a bit of a Hotel California - i.e. its relatively easy to enter but nearly impossible to leave. Using a map captured from one of the presentations allow me to explain:
Map of the proposed IKEA mougins
As you can see entry from the penetrante - the big road at the bottom - is at least separated from other traffic because there is a separate slip road. Unfortunately, as you can see from all the other routes, getting back onto the penetrante is going to involve negotiating two or three roundabouts as will shoppers who wish to head off in other directions. Given that one can assume that plenty of other people will be passing up and down the yellow road - it's the main way to get to MOuans Sartoux from the penetrante, and turns into a traffic jam at the other end anyway at busy periods - the addition of traffic exiting IKEA is likely to be a horrble mess.

The yellow marked road in the image is in fact the road where a successful illustration of the traffic problems took place in october. As reported in the Nice Matin (according to a post near the bottom of this thread), a mere 250 protestors attmepting to drive to the spot at the same time caused a massive jam that spread all over the place.

The fact that many people will not come via the penetrante just makes things worse. I attempt to avoid driving though the middle of Mouans Sartoux at any time because you can frequently walk faster than the cars move (trust me I've done it and sat in jams watching others do it), but if you live in Valbonne, Biot, Le Rouret, Roquefort, Opio, Chateauneuf or even parts of Mougins, the preferred way to get to IKEA will be to drive on one of the red routes in the map of the surroundings illustrated below (from google):
Routes to Ikea Mougins through Mouans Sartoux
The green arrow is approximately the centre of Mouans Sartoux and the location of the biggest jam - see that T junction in red? The dotted red route avoids the T junction jam for people coming down from Plascassier but has other problems, such as vicious speed bumps because of the residential neighbourhood and going past the Casino Supermarket and Botanic garden centre. Also fun, and something I discovered today by accident, my GPS and, I expect, many others, think that the green dot is the main way to/from Pascassier. It isn't and is in fact a road that is blocked off in the middle. I have no idea what a bunch of people trying to follow their satnavs with the wrong directions will to to the traffic but I wouldn't expect it to be good.

I was, generally speaking, in favour of having an IKEA nearby - thanks to the map from pourIkeaMougins I am now against it because I believe the Mayor of Mouans Sartoux is actually correct. The IKEA proposal as it currently stands will make the already dire traffic situation in the village worse. How could I change my mind? Two or three things
  1. A dedicated on and off ramp for IKEA completely separate from the D409 roundabout that allows traffic in both to/from the coast AND to/from Grasse on the penetrante
  2. Adding another on ramp to the penetrante near Auchan (La Paoute) so that some of the traffic from Chateauneuf, Opio and inland can avoid driving through the middle of Mouans Sartoux
  3. Finding a way to build soem kind of a bypass for traffic from Plascassier to get to the Penetrante and/or IKEA
3 is damn near impossible, 2 is tricky but 1 should be simple and, IMO, is the most critical one of all anyway.

I despise l'Escroc and Vile Pin