Ikea Greenwich
Ikea on Saturday morning: Roads coping well

One of the first questions raised when Ikea announced plans for its controversial store in east Greenwich was “how do they expect you to get a Billy bookcase home on a bus?”

Well, Transport for London has provided an answer – so long as it’s no more than two metres long.

Information boards have appeared at North Greenwich station directing passengers to bus stops for the store, which opened on Thursday.

North Greenwich station
TfL’s helpful advice at North Greenwich

They helpfully note: “You will not be allowed to board if you are carrying an item more than two metres log, or which you are not able to carry yourself.”

North Greenwich station
Ikea representatives were waiting to help potential customers in North Greenwich station

Traffic around the store was surprisingly light on Saturday morning, aided by the Blackwall Tunnel flowing well – in fact, traffic was quieter than the Thursday morning when the store opened. Ikea had representatives in the bus station to guide potential passengers – something mandated in the store’s travel plan – but they had little to do when spotted at 10.30am, 90 minutes after the store opened.

However, the store’s first weekend still has a Charlton Athletic home match to contend with, while Sunday is often a difficult day in the retail parks and – unfortunately for Ikea’s requests for people to use public transport – there is no rail service through Greenwich that day.

Ikea Greenwich
A stready stream of customers walked into Ikea on Saturday morning

For now, though, Ikea and Greenwich Council will be breathing a sigh of relief that the feared gridlock has not materialised.

6pm update: Traffic was seen queuing off the A102 at Woolwich Road at about 1pm with plenty of social media reports of congestion after…

The whole of south east London is at IKEA Greenwich today. I’m queuing in the rain. I don’t know who I am anymore. pic.twitter.com/ctn3txiUfx

— 🐯🍼💦 (@TYGERMYLK) February 9, 2019

@Royal_Greenwich great work with IKEA. Traffic is predictably horrendous around the area today. I presume your plan involves ignoring it?

— Sam Crawford (@samcrawford_84) February 9, 2019

@Royal_Greenwich I think it’s fair to say you’ve made it more dangerous for pedestrians walking from Westcombe Park to IKEA. Traffic is so backed up down there that cars are jumping lights and making crossings dangerous.

cc @TheMurkyDepths

— Ross (@rossmasters) February 9, 2019

It can’t be anything to do with the new @IKEAUK as @Royal_Greenwich have assured us everyone is going to walk or cycle there

— stu mayhew (@stu_mayhew) February 9, 2019

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