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News and Comment June 2012

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29 June (Part 1) - As the crow flies

Bexleyheath Broadway map - You are hereAfter beating Bexley council’s anticipated walking times by more than 20% I was told I had chosen the easy routes. Try getting to Bexley station in 22 minutes was the new challenge. I didn’t much fancy that, there are too many busy roads to cross and the junction with the A2 looks like an accident waiting to happen, but on the other hand it is nearly all downhill. So I left Boris’s fancy new sign yesterday at 14:05 precisely on my wristwatch, ignoring the clock tower which is about three minutes slow.

I passed the Magistrates’ Court and avoided delay crossing Albion Road by walking along the central reservation. At the bottom of Gravel Hill I cut across the grass verge and nipped across the A2 slip road between two slow moving cars. Then I found myself on a short section of the A223 without any pavement; what is Bexley council playing at recommending people walk this route? The A2 bridge footway becomes perilously narrow when you are not driving but the slip road on the far side was mercifully free of traffic.

I passed by Bexley Cabs without hesitating, there was no sign of illegally parked cabs, ignored the path and took a straight line route across the station car park, finding myself in the booking hall just in time to see the 14:29 to Gillingham dead on time. My watch confirmed it. Maybe one second under 24 minutes but no more than that. So cutting corners wherever possible, risking life and limb on central reservations, walking my usual 20% faster than Bexley council anticipated elsewhere, and I am 10% behind schedule. I knew it was likely after just ten minutes and went as fast as I could without breaking into a trot. Bexley council should be thinking this one out again. Not just the timing which should be 30 minutes, but the very idea of suggesting tourists, maybe with young children in tow, should ever be recommended to walk to Bexley station. Get the 229 bus. About six minutes door to door.

MapNote: This blog escaped prematurely and was available in a ragged unedited form for most of yesterday evening while I attended a council meeting, Someone saw it and wrote to tell me of a little known route using footpaths. The map alongside (Click to enlarge) with its circle indicating destinations within a 15 minute radius implies straight line routes. What do they think we are? Pigeons?


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