Road construction can be a hard pill to swallow some days, but it’s a vital part of life in the city. Infrastructure creates jobs and improves our getting around, but it’s not great for speed.
The city is speckled with construction zones from April to November. We should be making some money off that. This summer, I’m proposing a bold, air-conditioned new adventure for visitors to the Forest City – construction street racing.
I’m proposing we make a race course that takes visitors through the gear-grinding, start/stop, pulse raising world of road construction. Time trials would be held at three different times of day – rush hour, mid-day and late night.
Play a game with your kids and have them count pylons along the course. Whoever counts the most gets ice cream at the end (sorry Billy, Jane is just better at counting than you).
Here is a race course you can follow starting at LondonFuse HQ – 24 Bathurst:
Hamilton to Egerton
From LondonFuse, turn right on Ridout, then turn left once you reach Horton Street.
This turns into Hamilton Road – one of the busiest east-west corridors for people entering the city from the south. Gentrification in this neighbourhood has provided a great opportunity for construction racing.
Crawl through single-lane traffic outside the London Public Library AND the Beer Store. Make a mental note to come back for some victory beers once you’re done racing.
Egerton to Dundas
Take a left onto Egerton and head toward Dundas.
This exclusive, ‘locals traffic only’ street has been a work in progress for months now, with all the dirt, dust and bumps of a motocross track. You may have to turn right on York (which stops at but continues after the Western Fairgrounds), and take a left on Kellogg Lane to actually reach Dundas.
Technically, though, you should turn right on Florence and left again on Highbury, where you make one more left onto the horrid corridor known as Oxford.
Oxford to Adelaide
This jaunt will take you through an impressive array of pylons and single-lane mayhem as you make your way from Highbury past McNay. It’s not a long stretch, but the morning rush hour time trial will make your blood pressure rise as people merge coming out of Tim Horton’s.
From here, you get a bit of a break as you head right on Adelaide and turn left on Windermere, where you’ll continue on to the next zone.
Western Road from Richmond to Oxford
Now that we’re in the north end of the city, take Windermere to Western Road. As you drive past the impressive brutalism of Western University, prepare to be slowed down as you enjoy lane restrictions along Western/Wharncliffe en route to Oxford Street. It’s a scenic zone, with plenty of distractions from the slowness.
Once you reach Oxford again, turn left, and make your way to Richmond.
Richmond Street from Oxford to York
As you make your way south from Oxford Street, you’ll get to experience the very best of single-lane driving in the very heart of the city. Experience the chaos of D&R while passing through the birth canal of Dundas Place.
Keep your windows open to breathe in the exhaust from nearby buses, and feel the heat of traffic as it crawls at a snail’s pace.
York to Talbot
Finally, a hairpin turn!
Once you reach York Street, take a right and a right again on Talbot Street. Once you reach Dundas, you get to do an exciting U-turn because of the road closure for Dundas Place.
Feel free to yell “What the hell?” as you turn around. Everyone else does, despite the heavy signage.
Head back to York Street and turn right.
York to Ridout
The lights at York and Ridout are a must-see destination for road construction enthusiasts. York is undergoing massive rebuilding, including the construction of a new highrise. But it’s the lights at Ridout where the closure begins that is a true marvel, and the last leg of the race.
Tourists can watch local traffic lose their minds during rush hour as they line up for blocks to turn left. For racers who want the most authentic London experience possible, turn left on the red light and tell the pursuing police officer that you thought it would be okay since it’s the only direction you can go.
Ridout to Bathurst
Welcome back, speed racer. Your time was atrocious.
For a full list of road and lane closures, be sure to visit the City of London’s interactive map and plan your next family getaway.