Monday 30 November 2009

Traffic chaos on the Greenwich Peninsula

Ask anyone who travels (or indeed has ever travelled) by car on the Greenwich Peninsula what the major problem is and they will probably tell you that all roads lead to the same place; quite literally. There are two major 'A' roads going from east to west and a 'B' road in between; these all lead towards Central London either via Blackheath and Deptford or Greenwich town centre itself. Then there are two 'A' roads going north to south - on culminating in the Woolwich Ferry and the other in the Blackwall Tunnel. In amongst these major arteries are a variety of smaller roads which, or course either take you nowhere or back to one of these major routes. The choked access across the Heath or the equally choked access through the Tunnel are the only ways into London.

Imagine then, these routes which can barely cope at the best of times (which I think is about 3am from Sunday into Monday!), when some sort of traffic trouble hits. Yesterday evening there was a car fire a few hundred meters from the entrance to the northbound tunnel; this apparently affected the road surface, lighting and CCTV. End result - the tunnel had to be closed. Now that is fine on a Sunday night (it sometimes happens to allow maintenance) but that is not so good in the Monday rush-hour. The almost immediate knock on effect as traffic is diverted is heavy traffic towards Woolwich (to use the ferry) and towards New Cross and Deptford (to hook up with the roads that will take you over Tower Bridge etc.). Of course, there is also the traffic being diverted off the A2 causing chaos at every junction.

I didn't know this when I set out for the Doctor's surgery at twenty to nine this morning... although I did note the nearly stationary traffic building up through the Village. After the Doctor I went down through Charlton to the Peninsula for some shopping; traffic through the light-industrial area was jammed heading towards Greenwich and the 422 (with amazing foresight) had been diverted to follow the 486 route (thus avoiding the stationary traffic towards Greenwich.

The tunnel was expected to remain closed until Wednesday although reports on the evening news state that it is now re-opened although traffic views taken from local cameras still look extremely congested.

Lucky I didn't get stuck in any of it or I really would be fuming. On the basis of this chaos one can only hope that vehicle transport of any kind will be BANNED when the Olympics come town and that everyone (competitors and dignitaries included) will be obliged to use public transport. The Borough has no less than three venues; Greenwich Park, Artillery Barracks and the O2. All of these in delightfully well served and accessible areas which aren't affected by traffic problems  at all... wait a moment, I think I might have to write to my MP.