The country's most cycled-up climb is operating as a one-way (uphill) street for the weekend in a traffic management trial
Box Hill’s Zig Zag road has been turned into a one-way street for the Easter weekend, in a traffic management exercise that seeks to look for new ways of controlling the flow of road users enjoying the National Trust land.
Several announcements have been made on the National Trust – Surrey Hills Facebook page, to help ensure that drivers and cyclists are aware of the situation in advance.
The one-way experiment applies from April 14 to 17, and the group said:
“Over the Easter weekend… the Zig Zag Road at Box Hill will be one-way only. All traffic, including bicycles, will only be able to travel uphill from the junction of the Old London Road at Mickleham to the Smith and Western restaurant at the top of Box Hill. We are sorry for any inconvenience that this may cause. All facilities at Box Hill will be open as usual.”
Questioned if the closure was likely to be repeated, Countryside manager Andrew Wright commented: “We’ll see how it goes, but might do it again for the May bank holiday weekends if successful.”
Box Hill’s iconic climb became even more popular following the Olympic road race of 2012, which saw the men’s peloton ascend the 1.5 mile stretch nine times, and the women twice.
Now, it’s a hive of cycling activity every weekend, making it one of the most hotly contested Strava segments in the UK, with over 70,000 riders on the leaderboard.
Geoff Clifton, part-owner and manager at Destination Bike, on Box Hill Road said he thought the strategy was a good one.
Comparing two consecutive weekends, he explained: “Last weekend in the good weather the top of Box Hill ground to a halt when it was two way traffic. As the car parks fill up people end up parking on the road, choking it further. I cycled through and it was pandemonium.”
“This week, with the Easter Egg hunt and other activity there was always going to be even more traffic so I think it was the only choice. At one point cars I was told were parked all the way up the Zig Zag. From a safety and accessibility point of view I think [the one way system] is a good thing.”
The bike shop, formerly Dauphin Cycles, was taken over by Clifton and his team last year. It’s located past the National Trust car park, serving coffee and cake as well as stocking bikes and all related delights.
He added: “As an aside we had some new customers in who had never climbed to the real top of Box Hill [past the car park] as they’d always got to the National Trust then gone back down, so from a business perspective they can do it as often as they like!”