Olympic Travel [UPDATED]

Westminster Bridge is virtually car-free, north-bound
Selena: It started as rioting. But right from the beginning you knew this was different. Because it was happening in small villages, market towns. And then it wasn't on the TV any more. It was in the street outside. It was coming in through your windows. 
- 28 Days Later

The Olympic Torch passes through Deptford and Lewisham tomorrow morning, starting at 7.21am at Creekside (click here for the full route). The Olympic traffic lanes over Blackheath will kick in on Wednesday 25th. The opening ceremony takes place on Friday, July 27th. At that point, all hell will break loose.

So far, London 2012 has actually been notable for the ways in which the apocalyptic predictions have failed to materialise. Here we are, less than a week from D-Day and the whole thing has been pretty painless for Londoners. But it's still all to play for.

The full version of the official travel guide www.GetAheadOfTheGames.com has gone live - providing day-by-day guides to how the events will affect London transport. They are also on Twitter @gaotg

In total, London will host 7% more visitors than average during the Games period, with the largest number of these coming from the USA (19% of total expected arrivals), then Germany (8%), Australia, Italy and Canada. Visitors from BRICS nations (Brazil, China, India, Russia and South Africa) will account for 9% of total arrivals.

Together, they are expected to contribute an extra 3m journeys a day to the public transport system, meaning that most of the day will feel like rush hour. London Bridge is due to be the nastiest snarl-up in the whole network.

Meanwhile, Londoners plan to stick around until after the Games, with 5% fewer departures expected during this period than the same time last year.

Please feel free to use this thread throughout the Games, to share travel advice.

59 comments:

Gold Cat said...

If you are at Bromley Road near Homebase Phoenix Community Housing is providing breakfast (eg coffee and croissants). Bless 'em.

MikeSE13 said...

Now thats what we need. Well done Phoenix Community Housing. a genuine offer of niceness.

Anonymous said...

As long as they don't put up any Olympic symbols in which case, with the generousity which the Organising Committee is showing to those who support them, they will be closed down and prosecuted.

Anon2012 said...

I'd take the increased foreign visitors prediction with a big pinch of salt. Beijing saw fewer tourists in August 2008 than a year before (about 8% down). High hotel and flight prices put people off.

mb said...

Not so much the absolute numbers but large numbers going to different places at times that the time tabling etc isn't used too. Stations, time tables, interchanges we're designed for our normal two peak day with people commuting to there usual place of work. This will be many more (probably) going somewhere else at different times. It's all a bit theoretical, it's not happened before so no idea if people really have altered there normal day or if the traffic modeling works. Only takes an escalator or two to fail to shut a station which impacts a train service which affects interchanging and so on. imagine if that siongle escaltor at Canada Water were to fall over?

Anon2011 said...

Good point. Suspect that practice at Canada Water the other day was designed around the escalator being out of action. I'm hoping the flow will be more out in the am, back in the pm, mirroring the commute. And that the Wiggins effect will encourage cycling (what a win).

If my central govt department is anything to go by, there will be a lot of Whitehall working from home. Which is making people worry that the broadband network won't be able to cope. At some point we'll relax and enjoy the Games!

Brockley Nick said...

@Anon2011 - You're definitely right about visitor numbers overall in Olympic year, they tend to be unchanged, because people get put off coming beforehand because they think the host city will be a building site. I did a bit of work for Visit London last year, setting expectations for London businesses on exactly this topic.

But I think the projected numbers are reasonable, given that London is much better connected / accessible to foreign tourists than Beijing. Not sure that Beijing is a particularly useful precedent.

Strategy said...

Does anyone know why London Bridge is predicted to be so bad? Got a friend coming down next week...should I advise her to use a different route (at around midday)??

tyrwhitt ali said...

I think London Bridge is predicted to be bad as it's such a major interchange station especially with so many events happening somewhere on or near the Jubilee line. My aim is to avoid it but then I normally DLR it to work...

Ubber said...

Cycling to work (Oxford Circus) this morning was, how shall i put it...."interesting". The re-phasing of traffic lights has created big long queues at the top of Old Kent Road, but then open empty road to Elephant and Castle. Then more queues under Waterloo, followed by massive queues and snarl ups around parliament square and whitehall.

What's really interesting though is what has happened over the weekend - the amount of junction changes and new pavements and road barriers that have sprung up is unbelieveable. The whole road system around Westminster has been changed around in so many ways - shows what we can do in a short space of time if it's planned properly.

Anyway, if cycling is supposed to be the easiest route in the Olympics then take my advice as a regular cycle commuter - it's way worse than normal, and working/shirking from home, especially in this weather, looks like the real smart option. (and yes, before people mention it - I know some people don't have that option, but if you do and can, then do!). Or, just go VERY early.

Brockley Nick said...

@Ubber - I was thrown by the changes to Westminster too.

Ubber said...

As was everyone else Nick! I particularly loved the fact we're now supposed to cycle around parliament square through four lanes of traffic instead of being able to turn on to whitehall. On the plus side, everything was so gridlocked I just jumped off at the junction and walked it across instead of trying to negotiate the slalom of jammed up traffic...

Pete said...

Westminster was a shock. I'm thinking of riding over Waterloo and then down the Strand instead, unless that's no longer allowed?

Ubber said...

Use this and zoom right in to see the changes in detail - you can click on them all - anythign coloured or marked with a "+" for more details. Looks like some really irritating ones for my ride home in an hour...

http://www.getaheadofthegames.com/travelinaffectedareas/city/london-temporary-road-changes.html

MsWiggins said...

thanks Ubber- great link.
I'm going to attempt a lot of cycling- but is it right that cycles aren't allowed in Olympic lanes? Is there space outside them? Slightly nervous...

Brockley Nick said...

That's right, cycles aren't allowed in Olympic lanes.

MsWiggins said...

Is the rest of the road that's non-Olympic wide enough to cycle safely?

Brockley Nick said...

Yes, normal lane width.

honor oak bark said...

Stuck on train back from a sunny trip to parliament hill Lido- ginger line suspended Canonbury to Stratford. Given that there's an Olympic rehearsal tonight much muttering that we are being "guinea pigged" to test if system can cope with a line down. It's hot crowded & smelly, and men in high vis keep shouting at us :(

MsWiggins said...

Thanks Nick. Happy travels, everyone!

Anon2012 said...

@Nick

I'm not trying to pick holes in the VB figures - I hope the predictions are right - but a decrease in visitor nos was not just Beijing. Athens and Sydney also fell short of expectations.

Still, any chance of relief on the transport network seems unlikely with the changes today. Agree Westminster was a nightmare.

Ubber said...

Update!

Westminster still a nightmare, but not as bad as yesterday - and it was made worse by someone being knocked off their bike on the corner of the square and Whitehall, so there was a police car stopping anythign but bikes from getting onto whitehall itself. I think people have been scared off by yesterday though. Definitely worth going earlier to avoid the traffic.

re. bikes in Olympic lanes...apparently 95% of Olympic lanes are banned for bikes, but there's a few that aren't. Having seen them on the road, there's no indication at all when you are actually there, but that map i posted a link to before has the details - if you click into the olympic lanes for more informaiton, it tells you if bikes are allowed. If not, then it says nothing so you can assume bikes are banned in those ones...

The one just after Waterloo going on to Westminster bridge is a "bus and Olympic" lane and normal traffic is supposed to go down embankment and then get fed round from the other side and not use Westminster bridge, which is a nightmare. If that one is a "bikes banned" I'll be ingorning it and still using Westminster bridge. It is by no means clear...

Pete said...

I went over Westminster Bridge this morning Ubber and I saw a sign on the approach that said Westminster Bridge closed for traffic other than Buses, Olympic Traffic and Cycles so I'm pretty sure we can still use it which is a relief.

Ubber said...

Good spot Pete. That's actually going to make that part of the journey quite pleasant, assuming that all the "Olympic Vehicles" (i.e. the branded BMWs that are allowed to use those lanes) aren't being driven by AddiLee...

Anonymous said...

http://www.guardian.co.uk/money/blog/2012/jul/24/hotels-properties-olympics

Anon2012 said...

Thanks for the link Anon 1455. Interesting read.

Not surprising to see so few Olympic rentals. It happens every Games: media play up the prospect and everyone thinks there's gold in them Olympic hills. Fair play to the 11% who succeeded though.

Ubber said...

Update!

I love Olympics lanes. The last two days when they had changed the road layouts but no brought the lanes into effect were clearly horrible. However, this morning I flew across Westminster bridge, took parliament square (empty, all green lights) at about 30kph and flew along Whitehall. Remians to be seen what it will be like next monday when there are actually events taking place around there, but this morning I think I set a PB for the ride in. Watch this space!

Katy said...

Hi Ubber - I'm currently biking regularly from Brockley to Oxford Circus, too. But sounds like you take a different route! Which way do you go? (Sorry this is pretty much irrelevant to most other people looking at the thread!)

Black Rebel Scooter Club said...

I used to scoot to Oxford Circus and after trying a few routes I settled upon the following:

Up the old kent rd to Elephant and Castle Roundabout, head straight over to St Georges Rd and carry on past Lambeth North tube, over the bridge at westminster, up whitehall to trafalgar sq, up haymarket to picadilly then up regent street to Ox Circus. 20-25mins door to door.

Pete said...

That's good going. I do more or less the same route (I lock up in Hannover Square) and it takes me more like 40 minutes. I do stop at all of the lights which slows me down a lot.

Black Rebel Scooter Club said...

Avoiding Drakefell when leaving Brockley saves a surprising amount of time - instead go straight on at the brockley cross roundabout to Shardeloes rd, left to vesta rd at mini roundabout, right onto sandbourne rd, and right again down jernigham rd to meet the old kent rd - having been through no lights and no queues.

...I may have been a little optimistic with my timing - I now do 20 mins door to door to Bank and I guestimated what it used to take me to get to Great Marlborough St...

Ubber said...

Hi Katy, I take the same route as Black Rebel. New cross, old kent road, new kent road, elephant and castle, past Lambeth north tube, under waterloo station, across westminster bridge, right into whitehall, then up haymarket, round picadilly and up regent street. Straightest route possible on the map if you plot it. Problem with it is the busy-ness, but i'm an early-bird so set off around 7.20. Takes me about 25 mins of actual moving time and about 30 if you count stops at lights.

Other way is a bit longer, but you can go straight along Queens road from new cross as well and to Camberwell, then oval tube and up to waterloo from there on Kenninton road - bit longer but marginally less like a rat-run than Old Kent road.

Elephant and castle's a bit scary, butif you get to the the front of the traffic and set off just before it goes green (watch for the traffic on the roundabout stopping) then you can get away without risking being run over as people zig-zag all over the place...

I've tried to find a decent back-road but there's really not much option from here unfortunately as i do hate breathing in all the bus fumes all the way.

Anon2012 said...

Glad to hear things have improved for cycling. Watch out tomorrow (Thursday) late afternoon when the torch comes down Whitehall. Don't know when the roads will be shut down from: due at Downing Street at six.

Anonymous said...

Apparently the Games Lanes are so competitors can get from the Olympic Village to the various venues in 20 minutes.

How the heck do they get to Cardiff or Hampden Park in 20 minutes?

Anonymous said...

The Programme of Investment 2012-13 therefore proposes an allocation of £835,000 for bridge works which are not part of the Local Implementation Plan.

This required for the urgent replacement of one Sydenham Park Footbridge, to complete the waterproofing and repairs to Ladywell Road Bridge and to plan and tender a scheme for the substantial maintenance to Vesta Road Bridge in preparation of works estimated at £635,000 for 2013-14.

Replacement of both Ladywell and Vesta Road Bridges are estimated at over £8 million.

Black Rebel Scooter Club said...

Scooter Update:

Just sccoted from Brockley to Bank. 25 mins. Gets busy as you approach the Bricklayers Arms Flyover but I turn off there and then its a breeze on to borough, over london bridge and then up king william street.

I reckon Olympics have added 2-3 minutes to my journey - but we'll see how things go next week.

cuppicake said...

drove back from the beach on the A2 yesterday. I suggest getting off at the catford exit. Traffic was backed up til there. We usually get off the Greenwich exit but obviously that's become an issue.

Brockley Nick said...

Cycling from Brockley to Victoria was quicker than usual. Little traffic and car-free Westminster Bridge. But finding a place to lock my bike has got much more difficult since the sun came out.

Anonymous said...

honor oak bark @ 23 July 2012 18:27
Please don't call it the Ginger Line, it makes me cringe every time I hear it, it's awful. Plain old East London Line or even perhaps The Culture Line which i've heard previously are so much better, and far less cringe worthy!!!

Brockley Nick said...

Culture Line is a museum initiative, rather than a name for the line itself. But yes, I like the ELL name too.

mg said...

Camberwell to Oval tube was solid this morning (on the bus - bikes could have weaved in and out) 45 mins! I should have walked.

Anonymous said...

Nope, i've definately heard on a few occassions people call it the culture line Nick

Mb said...

Ginger line all the way. Never ever called it the culture line, ELL if I'm being sensible. Far more specific and useful than Overground which is just the collective name for all the rail services that TfL now run.

I expect howls of protest, it's OK. I'm right.

Anonymous said...

Anyone else call it the Overground - i.e. what it actually is?

Low marks to TFL or whoever owns it for coming up with that name though. Couldn't they envisage the conflict it would have with "Mainline rail services", i.e. what everyone calls 'Overground' trains?

honor oak bark said...

Anon @ 10:45:
We were aiming to interchange at Canonbury with the line-formerly-known-as-the-ELL; we were on the Gospel Oak to Canonbury stretch, so technically we were on the line-formerly-known-as-the-Silver Link. "Ginger" is infinitely preferable to what locals used to call THAT line....

honor oak bark said...

Back on thread... travelled to the Olympic Park and back last night.
I can recommend if you're going to the actual Games, exercise your local knowledge and travel via Whitechapel and the District / Hammersmith Lines to West Ham to avoid the scrum for the Jubilee Line to Ginger/Overground/ELL (delete as preferable)Interchange at Canada Water.
It's a pleasant pedestrianised 15min stroll to the Olypmic Park, there were no queues to get on the train on the return journey, and had a seat all the way home.

Anonymous said...

Anything is preferable to the Gingerline

Mb said...

Yes, HOB. We've been given an instruction to encourage people to use West Ham and walk. It's actually about the same distance as Stratford station.

Just a heads up I'm "volunteering" as a travel ambassador. If you see a disinterested slightly cross Engineer wearing a pink HiVi, thats me. Don't ask me any questions, thanks.

Anonymous said...

"Where is Bucking-ham palace?"

Mb said...

The Ginger Line is screwed so I'm on the 172 from Waterloo. Flying along at the moment. Don't know if it's anything to do with the Olympics but hope so.. Oh god, Boris has just appeared on the PA. #FOB

Anonymous said...

I heard Boris on a bus PA the other day. I didn't even realise they had the technology to do that. Very creepy...

Anon2012 said...

ELL running again. Signal or train failure at Forest Hill apparently.

Tressilliana said...

It's awful, isn't it, Anon. Every ten minutes the fruity voice booms out 'Hi folks, Mayor of London here...'

The technology is what they normally use to say 'End-well Road!' as if announcing you've won the lottery.

mk said...

Happy to buddy up with any newbie cyclists, in case you're tempted but a little anxious about taking to the roads...

Mb said...

BROCKLEY - CANADA WATER - WESTMINSTER - VICTORIA got the 7:24(ish) got in at 07:55. Plenty of time to read the parer and have my morning pre snooze nap.

No idea what it will be like at other times but there were noticably fewer people around.

(Health warning, it may all go to shit later)

Fabhat said...

London bridge mainline station 1-6 was a nightmare tonight at 4.45ish and get worse. Mostly due to cannon st problems, but also getting to the platforms via the olympic cross country all round the station route is slow, and infuriating! Add train delays, platform switches etc and you get a grumpy crowd. Will definitely be leaving work earlier tomorrow to avoid the rush...

Tressilliana said...

171 to Aldwych mid-morning today - fine. No delays at all, quicker than I've often found it in the past.

Oxford St: busy but not any more so than normal.

Bond St tube station not long afer 4pm: ditto.

Jubilee line to Canada Water: busy but not to sardine level.

Overground Canada Water to Brockley, 4.30ish: fine.

Make what you will of the above!

Anonymous said...

Err, I make you had a day off and went out to indulge in some light shopping... ;)

HOB said...

*fumes* I don't mind doing the decent thing & travelling home on an alternative route to avoid Canada Water and London Bridge, but yesterday from watching the Triathlon that meant picking up the train at Victoria, which on an Oyster single fare was an eye watering £4,40 from South Ken! Shame on you, TFL!

Brockley Central Label Cloud