London 2012: Are Games Lanes an 'annoying necessity'?

The Olympic Games Lanes are the biggest change to London's roads since the introduction of the congestion charge in 2003.

After much anticipation (or dread) they are finally turned on at 06:00 BST on Wednesday.

Earlier on Tuesday I was allowed to film for the first time in the liveried BMWs that will whisk the 'Olympic family' along the Games Lanes throughout the fortnight.

It was certainly an unusual experience. Even without the lanes actually being activated, I could see how much the Olympic routes have been changed.

I soared through the city from Blackfriars and only hit two red lights all the way to Canary Wharf, and even they were on red only very briefly.

Those parts of the network between the venues - the Olympic Route Network (ORN) - have already been deliberately changed to smooth the flow.

The downside to that is the roads into the Olympic routes are seeing a lot of red lights and that's creating big queues out of town on the A12 and A13.

The Games Lanes are extremely controversial and loathed by many other road users already. Cabbies and cyclists are demanding to be allowed to use them.

The organisers say the Games Lanes are absolutely necessary; the aim is to get 80% of athletes transported to their events in 20 minutes.

Not many trips between the Olympic Village and, for instance Lords, would pass that test in normal traffic.

From Wednesday they will be turned on from 06:00 BST to midnight every day but they may be deactivated if there isn't a lot of Olympic traffic.

That seems unlikely.

If you find yourself in one of the Games Lane while it is active you will receive a £130 fine.

The Games Lanes are an extremely hard sell to Londoners with many thinking they are divisive and elitist but, for two weeks, are they just an annoying necessity?

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