December 12, 2011 / 2:27 PM / 7 years ago

Johnson scorns Olympic traffic gridlock fears

Traffic queues along The Mall in central London June 10, 2009. REUTERS/Luke MacGregor

LONDON (Reuters) - Fears that next Summer’s Olympic Games will snarl up London’s traffic are as wrong as the doom-laden predictions of the “Millennium Bug” were, Mayor Boris Johnson said on Monday.

“Many say London will be gridlocked and expensive and traffic will be dominated by whizzing limousines of Olympic bureauocrats throwing up road spray into the face of multitudes of Londoners,” he told a meeting.

But he said the Olympic priority route network, which takes up 1 percent of the city’s roads, will be limited to 16 days plus a day or two to set the routes up and take them down again.

Olympic “fat cats” will be encouraged to take public transport around the events, while tube transport such as the Jubilee line will operate with increased frequency.

Johnson told delegates to the London Policy Conference meeting: “I genuinely believe that when the games are under way, we will look back at the anxieties as a kind of Millennium Bug that never materialized because most people travelling in most parts of London will not even notice that the route network exists.”

Fears about the Millennium Bug were based on largely false predictions that computers would crash worldwide at the start of the present century because of their inability to handle the date change from 1999 to 2000.

Johnson said the July Games would boost the economy through job creation, Olympic-related initiatives in schools and improved infrastructure.

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