Transport and parking in the ELL boroughs during the Games

London bus. Pic: Colin Smith

The opening ceremony is just one week away and from tomorrow Londoners will begin to see the impacts of the Games on the way they travel and move around the city. ELL have compiled an Olympic Guide to the big events and main closures that will affect you.

Whether you cycle, drive, take the bus or the tube – use our guide to help plan your journey ahead.

Torch Relay
The torch relay will reach Tower Hamlets and Hackney this Saturday afternoon, July 21, and Lewisham and Croydon Monday morning, July 23. The torch has a rolling road closure around it and traffic won’t be allowed to pass. See our ELL map of the torch route so you can see how it will affect you.

All over the country, crowds have been much larger than LOCOG expected. Roads have been closed far longer than had been originally planned so do what you can to plan ahead.

Other Road Events
Throughout the Games there are 13 events taking place on the streets of London. Roads will be closed and streets crowded with spectators.

Marathons in the City of London may spill into Tower Hamlets and Hackney on August 5 and 12, and September 9; and the cycle road races may make driving in Croydon more difficult than usual on the weekend of July 28 and 29.

The Olympic Route Network (ORN)

This is a series of roads which will be used to transport the ‘Olympic Family’ – that’s the athletes, media, sponsors and officials – around london. It covers some 109 miles of road and has Games Lanes, or ‘zil’ lanes, on 30% of it. These lanes can only be used by the ‘Games Family’ between 6am and midnight.

At times the bus lanes next to the Olympic lanes will be suspended and will be available for all traffic, buses, taxis and cyclists to use. This may be hard to spot but you are unlikely to be penalised if you stray briefly into the wrong lane so don’t panic.

Roads on the ORN and around it will have traffic light signals changed to allow more green time on the ORN, with Garrett Emmerson, chief operating officer for surface transport at TfL, telling the Evening Standard: “Adjustments are being made to 1,300 sets of traffic signals along and around the ORN to manage the increasing volumes of traffic carrying athletes, officials and the world’s media.”

Each Venue in London has a Local Area Traffic Management and Parking Plan (LATMPP) around it which may involve security checks, closed roads, restricted access to properties and pedestrian walking routes. If you need to drive near a venue you’ll probably want to check the route first, LOCOG keep information about each of the venues in one place on their website.

If you live in Hackney, Tower Hamlets or Croydon, you will possibly be subject to a Controlled Parking Zone (CPZ) which is extended in area or hours or even completely new. The way this is operated in each area is different. It will be organised by LOCOG and managed and enforced by the individual boroughs but the general rule is that it covers any area within half an hour walking distance of a venue. We’ve reported on some changes, but more details for each borough can be found below.

Buses, trains and stations

Public transport  around London during the Games promises to be very busy,with extended journey times, closed stations, diverted buses and queuing at stations. We’ve listed some of the worst stations in each of the ELL boroughs below or you can use some of the online tools available to help you plan.


For those cycling in the east, regular cycling routes will be a challenge. The towpath is closed and will remain that way for much of summer. Key routes around Victoria park will be difficult to access. Roads will be congested and with suspended bus lanes on the ORN, cycling around London this summer won’t be easy. ELL suggest you plan carefully and cycle safely, many council’s offer free cycling courses like the one being run in Lewisham this weekend.

Key changes by borough along the line:

The Olympic Route network operates around the Olympic park but the main change in the area is the closure of the slip roads off the A12 and restricted access to Homerton Road between 6am and midnight with a diversionary route up around Lea Bridge Road.

Stations and trains
Pudding Mill Lane station is closed and as of this week Hackney Wick Station will be closed westbound toward Highbury.

Hackney has widespread CPZ’s, for information, and to see a virtual map, visit Hackney’s website or call hackney Service Centre on 020 8356 8278.

Tower Hamlets
The road from Tower Bridge, down the Highway and out through the Limehouse Link is part of the ORN, there are significant changes to how this road can be used with many banned turns on and off the road.

Stations and trains
Most stations in Tower Hamlets are on the Dockland Light Rail line which will mean they will be very busy.

The western half of Tower Hamlets will be subject to a CPZ area. Full information for Tower Hamlets residents is on the council website or call 020 7364 5003.

Some of the roads between Blackheath station and the heath itself will be closed at peak times during the Games.

Stations and trains
Blackheath station will be extremely busy during the Games as it services Greenwich Park as a venue. July 30 will be the worst day.

A CPZ will be in operation around Blackheath in some areas close to the park. For information about exactly where the CPZ extends to and how it will operate, visit the Lewisham Council website or call 0845 2185 248.

Croydon will be reasonably immune from the impacts of the Olympics on travel and transport, but it’s a good idea to plan when heading into central London.

Further information and useful contacts

For anything to do with venues, or specific London 2012 or Olympic events and access, contact LOCOG via or 0845 627 2012.

For tube, trains, buses and cycling visit or, or call 0843 222 1234.

For parking, local questions or queries or information about local events, contact your local Council.

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