Google Maps UK

Google Maps UK has arrived. Terrific! At first site this seems a great implementation and easier to use than the other street mapping sites. The route planning function is excellent, and fast. There are a few user interface glitches but these are relatively easy to work around, and no doubt will be ironed out in time.

Satellite maps are missing: hopefully they will come soon. IMHO, essential.

One interesting observation is that the route to and from our home treats Waynflete Road as one way, South to North. News to us, but perhaps Google is prescient as well as everything else. Local residents are well aware that Oxfordshire County Council has plans for the notorious Green Road Roundabout. Work has already started on the 'short term measures' part of this scheme--swapping the bus lanes on the London Road--which, in isolation, has been an unmitigated disaster so far.

The original scheme envisaged traffic lights at either end of Waynflete Road (i.e. at both of its junctions with Bayswater Road) which would have effectively killed off rat-running up Waynflete Road. However, in their ultimate wisdom, officers of the County Council have apparently decided that the more northern set of lights is unnecessary. What makes them think that they know more about this than the traffic consultants they hired at great cost to us ratepayers defeats me completely, but it now appears that Google has let the cat out of the bag and that the hidden agenda is to make Waynflete Road one-way.

There is a kind of argument for this that might hold sway: it must be miserable for the bus drivers (who only drive one-way up Waynflete Road) having to negotiate parked cars, traffic calming measures, and irate drivers (not to mention cyclists) coming in the opposite direction. How much easier would it be for them if the street was one-way in their favour?

Frankly, though, I don't think we owe them any favours at all. The buses the two rival companies now run are far too large, too heavy, and too frequent (they typically hunt in twos and threes, mostly near empty). The damage they have caused to the surface of Waynflete Road is considerable. It was resurfaced only a few years ago and is now dangerously defective, and potentially lethal to cyclists.

Addendum: I had hoped to illustrate the above rant about Waynflete Road with a map refereence to Google Maps, but this is not available at this time. So here is one from a rival.