Tuesday 26 February 2008

Total Gridlock

This morning I had to go to a Doctor's appointment. Running a bit late I left the house with 10 minutes to spare and thought that given the speed at which the stick and I progress I had better break my environmental principles and jump in the car to get there on time.

I pulled out the end of our street to be met with completely stationary traffic in both directions. Traffic coming up the hill was blocking Woolwich bound traffic from movement as the jam was blocking the single file traffic through the roadworks. Inexplicably traffic heading towards Blackheath was also at a standstill. Trapped! I pulled into a side road, parked the car, and decided that I'd better make it on foot to the Doctor after all. Fortunate for me that they are always running about half an hour late by this time of morning! I was amused as I made my way along the main road to see the many attempts at traffic avoidance of the frustrated motorists. The reasons that the general Charlton/Woolwich/Blackheath area gridlocks so easily is that most of the roads don't go anywhere! They loop around and join back up with each other, or lead you to a bit further along, or another road which leads to the same ultimate destination - the traffic will never get any better!

By the time I left the Surgery traffic towards Woolwich appeared to be more or less moving (although there was obviously still bus trouble as they were few and far between and very overcrowded). Traffic was still crawling towards Blackheath though. Very strange. I went back and fetched the car from whence I had abandoned it and went home.

The cause of the chaos. An oil spill at the Blackwall Tunnel. The odds are that traffic chaos this severe has that Tunnel at the bottom of it somewhere. Compounded, apparently, by a one ferry service. Not aided by replacement of London's Victorian water mains.

I'd recommend generally giving the Greenwich Peninsula a miss for the foreseeable future if you are travelling by wheels.