London's Olympian Traffic Headache

With the Olympic games, and millions of visitors, descending on London this summer, Sarah Lyall looks at how the capital city is hoping to spare users of its ancient road network and temperamental subway system from a transportation nightmare.
May 29, 2012, 11am PDT | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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For a city renowned for its unpredictable congestion, city officials are pulling out all the stops to try to prevent transportation chaos during the two weeks of Olympic games. Lyall explores these efforts, which range from prioritized Olympic traffic lanes to outright scare tactics.

"London's commuters have been warned to expect gridlock on the roads and paralysis on the subways. They have been advised to leave home well before rush hour; to travel by foot, bicycle or boat; and to forget about trying to drive anywhere even remotely connected with the Olympics."

"The government has braced itself for the onslaught with a $10.2 billion spending spree on transportation improvements over the last seven years. It has increased capacity on some train and subway lines, spruced up others and built new services like the javelin train, which travels between St. Pancras and Olympic Park in a cool seven minutes (when it works), a trip that would normally take about half an hour."

"Tony Travers, director of the Greater London Group at the London School of Economics, said all the planning in the world could not remove the two biggest obstacles to a happy traveling experience in London: the city's twisty, snarly, ancient road network and its temperamental subway system."

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Published on Sunday, May 27, 2012 in The New York Times
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