Are the Games Lanes working or are motorists confused?

 
The Highway near Tower Hill facing west Motorists appeared to stay away from driving into central London on Wednesday morning

Related Stories

The last time there was such a dramatic change to London's roads was when the congestion charge was introduced in February 2003.

Then, our TV producers at BBC London used tumble weed from the BBC prop department to show how deserted the roads were.

Perhaps we're not quite digging that out again but anecdotally it seems traffic is lower than usual and many drivers are staying away.

Transport for London (TfL) will be pleased if it's true that their messages and advice have got through to motorists.

What that has meant is that while the Olympic Route Network (ORN) is active it is open to everyone but you can't stop on it or turn right and some of the Games Lanes, for use by the Olympic family, are on and some are off.

What TfL is trying to do is show that the lanes are flexible and can be turned on and off.

It is an important point for it to make politically as the lanes are very unpopular and controversial.

What are the Games Lanes?

  • Dedicated lanes on a third of the Olympic Route Network in London
  • For use only by Games family - those deemed to be critical to the success of the Games - and emergency vehicles
  • One lane in either or both directions on key roads linking Olympic venues
  • Mostly in offside lane of road, although which lane used will depend on layout
  • Used by 55,000 members of Olympic family each day
  • Mostly used by fleet of 1,500 coaches and nearly 4,000 BMWs for officials and VIPs
  • Lanes to be marked by road markings and traffic signs

TfL wants to show it has listened and it can keep London moving.

The downside is that it is confusing for some drivers - is this lane on or off? Do I risk a £130 fine?

And it seems lots of drivers remain unsure particularly if they missed the dot matrix signs issuing advice.

Leon Daniels, TfL's managing director of surface transport, said people would have to rely on the changing matrix signs to determine whether they could drive on the lane.

But he said people accidentally straying into them would not automatically incur a fine.

He said: "We don't want enforcement, we want compliance.

"Nobody will be harshly dealt with if the Games Lane becomes activated after they pass it."

How has it been for you so far? Let me know.

 
Tom Edwards, Transport correspondent, London Article written by Tom Edwards Tom Edwards Transport correspondent, London

More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

Comments

This entry is now closed for comments

Jump to comments pagination
 
  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 19.

    I momentarily strayed into a Games Lane today because I couldn't see the road markings and signs because of heavy traffic. I think they should have prepared this at least 2 months ago, to allow motorists time to assimilate the instructions. Ian Fletcher had something to do with this I''m sure.....

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 18.

    I've just seen the item on the news about the olympic lanes / olympic route network. It sounds very confusing with different rules applying to different lanes. It sounds like a bit of a money making scam to me.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 17.

    With the economy back in recession you'd think the government would be doing everything they can to help the economy. Bringing millions of Londoners to a grinding halt to benefit a few Olympic hangers on who want to stay in Park Lane rather than Stratford isn't going to help growth much is it?

    I drive around London for work, I don't have a choice, I don't do it for fun - patronising rubbish TfL

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 16.

    Tower Bridge was incredibly slow yesterday, and even slower today. I expect it to be glacial tomorrow and possibly to be in grid lock thereafter. Thankfully I have scheduled to bring my yacht through to the Pool of London during the middle of the Marathon, so at least I'll have a good view of one event.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 15.

    I have a suggestion for a new game in Olympics\Paralympics month;

    All motorists in London to carry a box of eggs in their car and when in gridlocked traffic you can throw them at the vehicles in the Olympics lane.

    +100 points if you hit an IOC delegates car
    -50 points if you hit an Athletes car.

    :-)

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 14.

    The lanes are a step too far. Athletes are residing at the Athletes Village next door so the lanes are only for the IOC Stasi brigade in their BMW's. They have random open\closed times to confuse people and you will be fined for going in them even if its the signs that are wrong.
    And with the number of inexperienced cyclists today, the number of cycling accidents is going to be a record this month

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 13.

    They should change all the matrix signs to read :

    ____________________
    |****************************|
    |....LONDON CLOSED...|
    |..........GO HOME.........|
    |****************************|
    ¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬

    That might work

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 12.

    It seems the only way to be absolutely certain that you won't get fined is by doing what the majority of Londoners do with Bus lanes....stay out of them 24/7 whether they're active or not! However this doesn't mean you'll actually get anywhere - or help you avoid accidents caused by other pre-occupied road users trying to read confusing road side messages explaining where they're allowed to go!

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 11.

    It is quite simply outrageous that the same people who have paid for both the Olympic games and the roads are not allowed to use the roads effectively and would even be fined for doing so. Yet more centralised "policy" and dictat. I am so glad I moved out of London in the 1990's, everything there is just too over-controlled.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 10.

    Another thing. The "getaheadofthegames" website shows which roads will be closed but this morning Hyde Park was completely closed with signs saying it would be throught the two sets of games. South Carriage Road is shown as open on the website. Please get it right so we can plan ahead.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 9.

    These Zil lanes are ideal for flash mobs and people who can't make up their minds when crossing these lanes about which side of the road they wish to be on. Expect Zil lanes on Whitehall and in Parliament square next.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 8.

    I am still confused. I saw somewhere that bus lanes could be used when games lanes were off limits. Is this true?

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 7.

    Trafalgar Square is a mess. They have shut down a 30m section on the eastern side of the square to all traffic except buses, taxis and cycles but the signage is so confusing almost everyone (including me) is driving through it. If this is not having any negative impact on traffic flow why bother closing it? Westminster could make a fortune on this. Or does the money from fines go to the Olympics?

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 6.

    The one thing we British can show to the world is that we know how to make a good muddle.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 5.

    Surely the VIPs (or politburo) should be driven around in bullet-proof Zils and not BMWs?

  • rate this
    -3

    Comment number 4.

    I think this is also an experiment that BoJo and TfL should take into account when reviewing the "traffic smoothing" policy. It's clear that London doesn't need more cars and can function well without them.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 3.

    Traffic was noticably quieter cycling through the City this morning. There were lots of obviously inexperienced cyclists on the roads too. My question is what will happen tomorrow when drivers have been lulled into a false sense of security and take their cars out again, thinking that no one else will... chaos?

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 2.

    The North road in Hyde park was completely closed off to all vehicles including cyclists this morning. There wasn't a single vehicle parked or moving anywhere on it. The road is actually about 60ft wide with two cycle lanes marked on it so its a mystery why its even closed to cyclists unless there is preparation for an event going on.
    The option for cyclists is to use Bayswater road instead.

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 1.

    It can't be pleasant being a driver in London. This is, however, a great time to be a cyclist: glorious weather, quieter streets and, in certain places, no traffic at all and wonderful views of event locations. Bliss.

 

Features

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.