London Personal

All roads lead to London … but some don’t make it out again

So, the joke goes …

Q: What is capital punishment?

A: The new name for the Mayor of London’s transport policy …

It’s certainly apt these days.

I’m not the world’s most enthusistic driver; I’ll avoid using the car whenever I can. The very thought of being stuck in a stationary tin can (albeit a comfortable one) along with lots of other stationary tin cans seemingly controlled by people with a united death wish has never appealed. It’s no surprise that car ads show long open roads and quiet backstreets.

It can never have been as bad as this. Traffic has doubled and doubled since we moved to London, but at least there used to be roads to drive on. Now every other street has vast areas coned off with deep unattended ditches at their hearts.

Years of underinvestment in sewers, water and gas are finally being set right. But the timing seems a little off.

The main road at the end of my street is the A20 which is busy at the best of rimes. Now things are made worse by the resurfacing of the A2 over Blackheath, which has lead to the closure of the road to eastbound traffic.

Now half the traffic that normally thunders over the Heath is now thundering through Lewisham and Lee on its way to rejoin the A2 at Eltham or reach the Blackwall Tunnel.

That means all the side roads around me are now seeing increased traffic as drivers seek to outflank the hotspots. And the busiest sideroads — already shortcuts for dumpertrucks or school buses en route to the council depot — are even more choc-a-block, as the deepening potholes attest.

So what better time could there be to dig up those busy sideroads and fix those ancient potholes? Next week, and for the next seven days, the busiest sideroad in the area will be subject to resurfacing work.

My advice is not to travel east for at least a month.