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Focusing on London’s traffic congestion is a fool’s game

A taxi drives along an Olympic traffic Lane in Westminster, London, July 20, 2012.

NEIL HALL/Reuters

Who needs an Olympic Lane when you've got a flag on your fender?

Much ink has been spilled about the traffic congestion many anticipate will be caused by the priority lanes during the Olympics.

Much more will yet be sloshed.

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On the past occasions I've been to this fabulous city (too numerous to mention) the traffic has been appalling with gusts to infernal, and on the way to and from the rowing venue Saturday it revealed itself to be ... appalling with gusts to infernal.

Anyway, we were jammed in traffic just off the Westway (yes, there's volume in the Olympic Lane, and it doesn't run everywhere), the media shuttle bus ground to a stop.

A succession of motorcycle cops whizzed through, stopping traffic.

It wasn't long before a sleek Mercedes limo happened along, followed by escort vehicles of that particular blandness that suggests they are packed with people armed to the teeth.

Putin? Medvedev? Maybe Khodorkovsky?

My money's on Putin: shortish man often equals giant limo.

None of this is to complain – I doubt anyone reading this would have much sympathy if I did, and rightfully so. Getting around London over the past week has been roughly what one who has spent a bunch of time here would expect (my colleague Jeff Blair would surely disagree, but he's congenitally curmudgeonly and has had truly rotten transport karma this week).

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There have been the usual broken trains, gridlock and confused bus drivers – a colleague from New Zealand happened upon a Liverpudlian driver who became hopelessly lost when his GPS conked out.

But there are also nice touches; the army of volunteers and officials who make a Games tick over (and the journalists who are paid to pick every nit) are primarily ferried around in London's iconic double-decker buses And how could they not, really?.

Sure it can take a while to get from point A to point B, but it's London, where sometimes you have to make allowances for the fact there are almost 10 million residents.

And for a visiting world leader or two.

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About the Author
National Correspondent

Sean Gordon joined the Globe's Quebec bureau in 2008 and covers the Canadiens, Alouettes and Impact, as well as Quebec's contingent of Olympic athletes. More

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