The Seventh Gateway to Traffic Hell

By SallyB2 Last edited 135 months ago
The Seventh Gateway to Traffic Hell

The Hangar Lane Gyratory has been given the dubious honour of being named Britain’s scariest road junction. In fact London claims 3 of the 4 top adrenalin-fuelled traffic experiences in the country, with Marble Arch and the Elephant and Castle coming 3rd and 4th on the list.

Londonist begs to differ, slightly. Hangar Lane is, admittedly, a teensy bit petrifying on the first or even second encounter, but once you understand what it is there for and where its various limbs are spiralling off to, it becomes a lot less intimidating. The road planners have complicated matters somewhat by pretending that there was reason to their original inspired madness: they drew meaningless white lines all over the roundabout which (if you adhere to them) are guaranteed to drive you insane or astray. The only way to tackle this shape-shifting goliath is to play it at its own game: shut your eyes (no, not literally – duh!) and charge in.

It also helps if you know where you are going. There is a general lack of this these days, Londonist has noticed. The flick of the Sat Nav seems to set the brain to stand-by mode, and so many drivers vroom mindlessly round our great city without the foggiest idea as to where they are or where they are going. A quick glimpse at an A-Z usually explains all (especially if it has one-way systems marked on it), and renders even the most fiendish gyratory comprehensible.

Anyway, Londonist reckons that London should capitalise on these man-made phenomena: offer tourists the ultimate traffic trial, and give them a certificate if they make it out the other side. The architecture of Hangar Lane could also be tarted up: hey, there is already (bizarrely) an hotel there. Having been described variously as a headache and an eyesore, this civil engineering folly could actually become a real attraction.

North Circular photo courtesy of Edwrd B’s flickr photo stream.

Last Updated 13 December 2007