Olympics Move Into The Fast Lane

By BethPH Last edited 167 months ago

Last Updated 30 July 2010

Olympics Move Into The Fast Lane


VIP lanes look set to cause disruption for London's motorists during the Olympics, when around 60 miles of roads will be earmarked as official routes to convey athletes, officials and the media in a speedily efficient fashion to the 2012 games.

You can see the map here, but roads affected include Embankment and the Blackwall Tunnel approach; two key routes into the capital and both already notoriously congested. Boris Johnson offered up the vaguely apologetic statement: 'It will mean inconvenience for London drivers for 17 days of the games. I can't pretend that during that period you will be able to bomb along the Embankment. I hope that Londoners will understand that some modest inconvenience at Games time is a price worth paying for a happy Olympic and Paralympic Games.'

Leaving aside the improbable suggestion that bombing along the Embankment is possible at any time except for perhaps around 3am, concerns have been raised about the impact of the lanes on day to day traffic - the restrictions will be in operation from 6am to midnight and it will come as a surprise to no-one that they will be enforced by CCTV and mobile cameras with fines of up to £200 for any unfortunate soul who strays into the lanes. Even taxis are verboten, which will no doubt cause widespread indignation in the ranks.

Closures of side roads, parking bay suspensions and bus route diversions will also be in place, though TfL are generously restraining themselves from any engineering works for the duration, while no doubt offering up prayer and sacrifices of small mammals to the transport gods in the hope that nothing untoward happens on the tube network to make them look bad.

The blogosphere is already alive with comment about the VIP lanes - 853blog points out: 'While I don't see anyone begrudging free movement of athletes and officials, I don't think anyone - whether they're behind the wheel of a van or stuck on a packed 108 - is going to be too happy about pausing so the head of the IOC or the chief executive of McDonald's gets a smooth ride through the tunnel.' Which is a fair point.

And it's not just London roads that will be affected - the leafy suburbs of Eton and Broxbourne along with less leafy Southend and Weymouth will face restrictions during events based there.

Image by Buckaroo Kid in the Londonist Flickr stream.