Kingston One-Way System
|Kingston One-Way System|
|Location Map ( geo)|
|Transport for London|
|Junctions related to the A307|
|Junctions related to the A308|
The Kingston One-Way System is probably the most effective of London's many gyratories and one-way systems in the cunning art of not letting you visit the town it is in. Visitors to Kingston will generally arrive at the town, find themselves drawn onto the one-way system's multi-lane racetrack, and will then either hurtle around it several times, unable to escape the high-speed whirlpool of circulating traffic, or will be helplessly spun off down one of the exits from the system, skidding to a halt several miles later in Surbiton or Ham.
The trouble is that - as well as being laid out in as confusing a manner as possible - this one-way system is fast. Two, three or four lanes at a time hurtle around corners and dive through sudden dips on a hell-for-leather race to lap the town centre.
The centrepiece of this chaos - the eye of the storm, if you please - is the crossroads where Eden Street, Richmond Road, Cromwell Road and Wood Street converge. All four arms here are part of the clockwise-running one way loop, and in doing a full orbit the hapless motorist will pass through here twice. Two multi-lane streams of traffic bounce off each other, with northbound traffic coming up Eden Street and swerving off to Wood Street, and southbound traffic emerging from the railway bridge on Richmond Road to dive down Cromwell Road. Approaching that point, in both directions, there's a horrible moment where it looks like you're hurtling straight into oncoming traffic.
On Wood Street, the one-way system descends on a ramp to the right and squeezes under a second bridge under the railway, forming an odd triangular junction with the dual carriageway A308 towards Kingston Bridge. For westbound traffic there's a second right-hand exit after the one-way system has departed, allowing access to a secondary one-way system around the back of John Lewis.
The multiple lanes that sling traffic around sharp left and right turns are confusing enough, but the problem is compounded by signage. It's not the usual London problem of a complex gyratory system without information for drivers; in fact in Kingston there's rather too much going on. Do I want Kingston Bridge Hampton Court A308 Twickenham (A310), loading areas A P and R? Or do I want Richmond (A308), New Malden Central London (A3) and "others"? Seven Kings Parking or Alternative Parking for Bentall Centre? How about New Malden (A2043) Central London (A3) Kingston Hospital A&E University (Kingston Hill)?
Left lane for K'STN HSPL. Middle lane for John Lewis parking. Right lane for Richmond but no right turn except buses. Next left New Malden, but not THIS left, this left is just a back street, no, the next proper left after that, around this right-hand bend.
The purpose of a flag sign (the type of direction sign with a pointed end, placed directly at a side turning as a courtesy to the uncertain driver) is to give a very fast, last second advice that will help you decide if this turning right here is the one you want. But if that flag sign reads Esher A307, Surbiton Tolworth (A240), Guildford(A3) (M25) Theatre Epsom (A24) Loading bays Shopmobility, you might be forgiven for missing your turning, condemning yourself to yet another miserable tour of the back of shops, the underneath of the railway and the idling engines of the bus station.
|Richmond, Ham, Petersham|
|Esher, Surbiton, Tolworth|
|New Maldon, Central London, Kingston Hospital|
|Kingston Bridge, Hampton Court, Twickenham|