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IOC chief: Olympic lanes not compulsory

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Critics say Olympic lanes could cause traffic chaos in London

By Adrian Warner
Olympics Correspondent in Copenhagen

The head of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) says he is prepared to do without controversial Olympic lanes at the 2012 Games if London can reduce congestion on its streets.

Critics say the exclusive lanes for vehicles carrying athletes, officials and VIPs will cause chaos on the capital's busy, narrow roads.

In an interview with BBC London, IOC President Jacques Rogge said: "What counts for us is that the transport times for athletes and officials from the Olympic village to venues is what was promised in the bid book.

"Olympic lanes are the means we are looking for but let's see what London comes up with."

Asked whether the IOC would do without Olympic lanes, he added: "If a good solution like traffic controls could be found, then yes."

The Olympic Family

Jacques Rogge

The lanes worked at last year's Beijing Games because the city is full of six-lane highways. But the key route for VIPs from west London to the Olympic Park in the east of the capital has much narrower roads.

Rogge ruled out the whole of the "Olympic family" taking public transport like all spectators are being forced to do.

"There will be people travelling by public transport, those who have no urgent responsibilities, " he said. "For those who have multi tasks and have to go from one venue to another, it seems more difficult. "

Rogge told the BBC that any cost-cutting to the plan for venues must not affect the competitors. London Mayor Boris Johnson has been demanding changes to the budget which could lead to more travelling for some athletes.

"The bottom line is that we are not opposed to savings as long as the quality of the Games is not hampered," Rogge said. "What counts ultimately is the welfare of the athletes. If that is compatible with savings, we have no problem."




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