The past few weeks have been extremely welcome ones. Firstly – and a huge thankyou to all those involved in such a gargantuan task – I have received my first dose of the COVID vaccine. 15 minutes from walking in to the centre and leaving- extremely impressive!
Another reason to celebrate has been a return to a degree of normality with the hospitality sector opening again for outside meetings. In London and the South East of England this has more often than not meant layering up and shivering as the weirdly unseasonal cold spell continues, but really no-one is complaining after months of lockdown and winter misery. Besides, it has been fantastic meeting up with old friends and contacts.
Yet what has happened to EC3 in the year or so I’ve been away? The buildings look as splendid as ever, and the bonhomie and charm are certainly there from those tentatively heading back, but it seems in our absence the powers that be at Transport for London have had some sort of existential crisis.
Or perhaps a collective breakdown?
For what else could explain the frankly ABSURD and LUDICROUS changes to the traffic system on Bishopsgate and Gracechurch Street- which together constitute one of the main arterial routes in the City of London?
I’ll explain. I was leaving the environs of ‘The Gherkin’ after lunch to get a train back from London Bridge when the heavens opened and torrential rain came down. Perhaps foolishly, I had not come prepared so had no hood or umbrella. My bad. Not a problem, I thought, as I jumped into a black cab and relaxed. For the sake of a fiver I would a) be dry and b) catch the next train from the station.
Or so one would have thought.
It transpires that black cabs can no longer travel IN A STRAIGHT-LINE down Bishopsgate and instead my taxi had to take a tortuous route via Bank junction and then COMPLETE TWO U-TURNS on Fenchurch Street and Eastcheap in order to take me over London Bridge to the station. Result: a £5 journey becomes a ridiculous £10 journey and I very nearly miss my train, having to leg it to the platform.
WHAT MADNESS IS THIS? WHY? Does Transport for London want to ruin EC3? They are going about it the right way if they do.
Somebody in the Mayor’s office please explain!
Enjoy the read,
PS here’s the official justification. Makes no sense whatsoever to me!