Are we heading to absolute gridlock as economy opens and public transport discouraged?

In recent days a greater number of businesses have announced that they’ll reopen  and traffic levels have begun to increase across London.

As that’s happened a range of opportunities to temporarily change street layouts for the “new normal” are going begging across most of London. Over the past week I’ve written a number of posts showing pedestrians squeezed onto narrow pavements beside wide roads with no reallocation of space.

Narrow paving and wide road

With public transport not looking viable for many people in months to come, sustainable transport is the only alternative to gridlock. Cities the world over are quickly putting in motion changes to ensure people on foot or bike can easily get around as public transport is cut and discouraged due to social distancing. Paris is planning 650 km and Berlin is doing similar. It took three days to turn thought into reality.


A DW article states: “The new bike lanes are still provisional, made up of red-and-white warning beacons, temporary signs and yellow foil barriers. They can be removed as soon as the coronavirus pandemic has passed. But most people believe that they are here to stay.”

London hasn’t. It’ll be too late when people turn back to cars. One noticeable thing in London over recent weeks is many more people (and families) getting on bikes as road dangers reduced.

Woolwich – no cycle lanes. Nothing planned despite towers coming to site on left. New Cycle Highway stops before this point

Yet with few measures in London to ensure cycling and walking is welcoming, that could be quickly snuffed out as more cars take to the road. London and other UK cities are likely to see resulting traffic and pollution.

With each passing days a once in a generation chance to seize the moment is being squandered.


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J Smith

I've lived in south east London most of my life growing up in Greenwich borough and working in the area for many years. The site has contributors on occasion and we cover many different topics. Living and working in the area offers an insight into what is happening locally.

    7 thoughts on “Are we heading to absolute gridlock as economy opens and public transport discouraged?

      • Could you expand on that?

      • Reallocating road space to people on foot and on bikes would benefit the disabled. Discouraging non-essential private-vehicle use will make it easier and quicker for disabled people who do need a car to get a round.

    • Sadly I think we will see our roads grid locked again as people get back in to their cars as using public transport is currently being discouraged due to the Covid-19 out break,

      Discouraging the use of public transport is so we can try to reduce the spread of the virus.

      But then the area will become grid locked again with increased traffic congestion and air pollution in the future anyway due to the Silvertown Tunnel. So nothing is really going to change.

    • You right in what you say CDT. The area will soon become gridlocked again.

      I have already witnessed a huge increase in car usage again. I am also sad to say I have seen some drivers ignoring speed limits while the roads have been quieter. Especially on 20 and 30 MPH speed limits which are mainly residential roads.

      You hit the nail on the head with with regard to the extra traffic congestion and air pollution that will come with the Silvertown Tunnel which is to be built close to the already busy and heavily congested Blackwall Tunnel which already has tail backs every day.

      This will have a major affect on peoples respiratory health for people living on both sides of the Silvertown Tunnel in South East and East London.

      So we are now doomed either way In Greenwich.

    • Yesterday was payday and a warm day to boot. Unfortunately it’s my only day to visit the stores and it was as busy in Stratford as any normal day – absolutely no difference. The queue at Morrisons ran around two thirds of the car park and buses were easily half full. If anything the lockdown has encouraged people to go out in pairs. Supermarkets are the new pubs if the Asda in Leyton Mills is anything to go by. With summer on the way and people slipping into bored complacency it’ll be chaos – the very time it will pay to be more vigilant than ever

    • Pingback: Blackwall Tunnel queues return to Greenwich | Murky Depths

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