Monday, July 30, 2012

Kings Cross St Pancras Olympic travel update 30th July

This is a follow-up to our Olympic travel page.

The verdict: so far so good, mostly

Although the biggest test - the start of the athletics - is still to come, the two main fears of huge queues for the Javelin trains and of commuters waiting 30 minutes to get on the tube have proved unfounded. In fact people have been joking on Twitter about “travel chaos”:

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There are, however, two things that need sorting:

Many of the signs at St Pancras for the Javelin trains point the wrong way


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  • This Javelin sign leads to the taxi rank on Midland Road

When these signs (which are mostly in the “Arcade” shopping area) first appeared, I gave them the benefit of the doubt and thought they were for a queuing system that had yet to be put in place. But the queuing system is elsewhere - on Pancras Road and inside near the escalators for the Javelin platforms.

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  • Queuing pens on Pancras Road, not where a lot of signs point to

A few signs are actually less wrong than they look because of an alternative route (which may prove quite useful if things do get busy) to the platforms accessed from near The Betjeman Arms’ indoor terrace on the station’s upper level.

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  • This sign looks wrong…
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  • …but leads to a sneaky back route to Javelin trains from upper level

However, many signs are still wrong, and others have had their arrows covered up, which is worse than useless.

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  • Signs with covered-up arrows are no help!

On the plus side, there are loads of extra staff around to help, so if you get confused the best advice is to ask.

But seeing as the games have still got nearly two weeks to run and then there are the paralympics, St Pancras and Southeastern please can you sort these signs out and stop confusing our visitors!

There are traffic jams being cause by road restrictions that shouldn’t be there

The roads have not fared as well as the railways, with jams on the Euston Road twice over the weekend and serious gridlock for a while on Monday morning. Congestion isn’t unusual in King’s Cross, but the frustrating thing is that the roads were clear in all directions outside our area, so the congestion shouldn’t have happened.

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  • GAOTG map for 30th July showing no restrictions in King’s Cross

The problem seems to have been caused by two mistakes:

1. Signs incorrectly designating Euston Road bus lanes as Games Lanes.
This is only meant to happen between Euston and King’s Cross on 7 days during the games (due to road events), but signs have been displayed permanently since Friday, although someone armed with spraypaint has noticed the problem and taken matters into their own hands:

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  • Spray-painted Olympic rings

Despite the inclusion of the word “taxis” on the sign, the situation has understandably confused black cabs, many of whom I saw sitting in traffic next to empty lanes this morning.

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  • Cabbies confused about which lanes they’re allowed to use

2. No left-turn signs from Euston Road into Upper Woburn Place.
Again this restriction has been in place all the time but on the GAOTG website is only shown on road event days.

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  • No left turn from Euston Road (westbound) into Upper Woburn Place

It is from this junction that westbound traffic has been backing up to King’s Cross and causing the jams.

I have tweeted @GAOTG twice about these issues and not had a reply. King’s Cross traffic needs to run as smoothly as possible, and not have extra and unnecessary restrictions applied when traffic elsewhere is running smoothly.
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  1. GoddersUK

    Friday, August 3, 2012 - 18:04:48

    Few points:
    Don’t get me started on the ruddy hair brained alterations they’ve made to the taxi rank at St. Pancras/Midland road. Taxis are queuing up all the way round the junctions behind down Goods Way and Pancras Road. It’s chaos, especially since both Goods Road and Midland Road have sections narrowed due to roadworks on them (I’ve watched buses, for instance, fail to be able to fit round the turn from Goods Way to Midland Rd and have to wait for the taxi queue to move forward to give them space, holding up all the rest of the traffic). Taxis queuing up round the junctions creates confusion to people approaching (”why’s there a queue of traffic at a green light?”) and makes life less pleasant for cyclists and pedestrians who have to navigate the congestion. Closing the taxi rank when they knew it would be busier (indeed, seemingly BECAUSE they knew) is unbelievably stupid. Especially since (the large quantities of taxis excluded) I’ve never seen that side of St. Pancras with so few passengers. I did submit a complaint to tfl, but I have yet to hear back.

    I think the spray paint is TFL’s way of controlling when the designation occurs - you often see newly install roadsigns spray painted over until they become officially operational (presumably it’s not actual spray paint but some more easily removable substance). tbh I don’t think it’s particularly confusing because that sign prominantly also displays bus, bike, motorbike and taxi info. If taxis are getting confused and not using it that’s probably a good thing since there’s no logic to allowing them in bus lanes (which are meant to promote proper public transport) in the first place.

  2. james

    Friday, August 3, 2012 - 18:11:28

    Thanks for your comment - if you look at my latest (3rd Aug) update you’ll see that the pens in Midland Road for Javelin queues were hardly used this morning. Assuming this was the reason for closing the taxi rank then they should scrap it straight away as I have also seen all the hassle it causes in Goods Way.

    Interesting about the spraypaint - although they haven’t done it eastbound.