Marylebone residents worried about Olympic traffic controls

Marylebone residents have warned London 2012 will lose support from local people due to “unnecessary disruption” caused by temporary traffic measures during the Games.

The Olympic Route Network (ORN) will be established throughout Marylebone for up to 100 days from July to September next year covering the period of both the Olympics and Paralympics.

Parts of Marylebone Road, Baker Street and Gloucester Place will have “Games Lanes” set aside for the sole use of athletes, officials and media.

Bus lanes will also be suspended in various roads, left and right turns prohibited and pedestrian crossings temporarily removed.

Marylebone Association traffic committee member Michael Bolt says residents’ main concern is the length of time the measures will be in place for.

“There appears to be almost universal mystification as to why the closures need to be put in place for a total time of nearly 100 days,” he said.

“There would be far more public support, or at least acceptance for the significant disruption that these controls will entail, if they were to be limited to the period of the Games.

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“Indeed if the perception grows that all the additional disruption is in fact unnecessary for large periods, it may result in the loss of much local support for the Games.”

Mr Bolt says stopping cars from turning onto and off main routes such as Marylebone Road will cause big tailbacks at already congested junctions while closing pedestrian crossings will cause further problems.

“We know the routes are not going to be relocated but we wonder why all the left and right turns need to be banned,” he said.

“Closing the Harley Street crossing would appear particularly difficult to justify as quite a lot of people who use it are visiting medical establishments.

“There wouldn’t appear to be any harm in keeping the pedestrian crossings open as they do not even seem to be on the main ORN route.

“It is one thing to restrict the number of usable lanes on these major roads but it is quite another to prevent vehicles turning. That could lead to a huge amount of unnecessary disruption.”

Garrett Emmerson, chief operating officer surface transport, said: “The ORN is vital to ensure that we get all athletes, officials, media and others working at the Games to their events on time, but it will also help us keep London moving.

“We are determined to ensure that the ORN is implemented and operated with the minimum impact on London.

“There will not be ‘100 days of disruption’ due to the ORN.

“We expect the routes to begin operation just a couple of days before the Games begin and certainly not before the school summer holidays, when traffic levels drop by up to 10 per cent.

“Some routes, such as that to Lord’s Cricket Ground, will be discontinued as soon as the event is over and they are not required.”