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Perfect storm hits London's streets
Peter Stefanovic
Monday, July 23, 2012

Peter Stefanovic is Europe Correspondent for the Nine Network and has been based in London for the past two years. He will bring you an exclusive insight into the Olympics.
Peter Stefanovic

Britain may be in the midst of its wettest summer since records began in 1910, but there’s a far bigger storm that everyone has been fearing on London’s streets and it has finally arrived – traffic of Olympic proportions.

Much has already been said about London’s traffic congestion as 10,000 of the world’s best athletes pour in for the 2012 Games, but what we have witnessed has been the tip of the iceberg.

In this, the final week ahead of the Opening Ceremony, it’s estimated more than half a million more fans and officials will touch down at Heathrow Airport, with the bulk jetting in from China and the United States. That will dwarf the arrivals that last week gave Heathrow, the world’s busiest airport, it’s busiest day on record.

While the historic London Underground seems to be coping with the temporary population boom - so far - it’s at ground level that cracks are beginning to appear.

Traffic is banked up for kilometres because of special Olympic lanes that have been established on motorways to ferry athletes and officials. That means three-lane motorways are reduced to two lanes and two-lane motorways are reduced to one.

While many are simply confused about the changes, London’s famous Black Cab drivers are fuming. They are also prevented from using those Olympic lanes, meaning they have to join the crush of cars snaking their way through the city at a snail’s pace.

To put that grind into perspective, on a good day the average speed of a car in London is less than 15kmph. That’s slower than the horse-and-cart era. The message for anyone contemplating hitting the road now is ‘don’t, unless it is absolutely necessary’.

The good news is that over the past few days, Britain’s miserable summer has finally witnessed glimpses of sunshine. Even the locals will admit that there’s nothing like a dose of good weather here to lift spirits.

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Opening Ceremony
Archery
Athletics
Badminton
Basketball
Beach Volleyball
Boxing
BMX
Cycling
Diving
Equestrian
Fencing
Football
Gymnastics
Handball
Hockey
Judo
Modern Pentathlon
Rowing/Canoe/Kayak
Sailing
Shooting
Swimming
Synchro
Table Tennis
Taekwondo
Tennis
Triathlon
Volleyball
Water Polo
Weightlifting
Wrestling
Closing ceremony
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