Residents of the area around Greenwich Park in southeast London have received yet another missive from the Bondvillainesque body known as LOCOG – the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games Ltd. This is the quasi-state agency that has the power to ride roughshod over the interests and wishes of those living in areas in which Olympic venues are sited, and pretty much all highways and byways in London leading to same.
The latest letter from LOCOG informs us that a major rush hour traffic route from Blackheath to Greenwich town centre, The Avenue in Greenwich Park, will be closed to all vehicles from 11 June, and not open again until 1 October. The closure of The Avenue is earlier than expected, owing, says LOCOG, to delays in construction work on the equestrian sports arena at the bottom of the park next to the National Maritime Museum.
The Avenue is normally open to motor vehicles during the morning and evening peak periods, and to pedestrians and cyclists at all times when the park is open to the public. When The Avenue is closed, it is customary for drivers to use as rat-runs quiet residential streets such as Crooms Hill. These narrow Georgian terrace streets are often crowded with traffic, and are particularly dangerous for cyclists as a result of cars and commercial vans overtaking at speed and running slalom around the badly maintained round speed humps.
Goodness knows what it’s like for local residents who have to put up with all the noise from high-revving engines. There has been talk of closing these streets to non-local traffic during the Olympic Games, but that will create even more problems along the main road running through central Greenwich, Blackheath Hill down to Deptford, and the northern part of Lewisham borough.
Cyclists are buggered whichever way you look at it.
I understand that Greenwich Council has expressed its corporate displeasure with LOCOG, but the council has no power to influence the new traffic orders, which in this case are the responsibility of the Royal Parks authority and Transport for London.
“We have agreed with Royal Greenwich that a number of measures will be taken to minimise the disruption from both contractors and displaced drivers on the local community, including this letter and clear signage.” [my emphasis]
How nice of them. If all else fails, send a letter. That should do the job. As for clear signage [sniggers], experience with diversions around the Greenway in Newham borough have taught cyclists and others never to trust anything that LOCOG says.