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Driving from harpenden/st albans into central london 3/4 times a week

(11 Posts)
geeman Tue 14-Dec-10 22:00:28

We are a young couple in our 20s with a 5month old DD and are considering relocating to harpenden or possibly st albans. I was wondering if driving to victoria london is a doable option from harpenden? Reason i'd rather not commute is that we are first time buyers and wont be able to afford anything in the 15-20 mins walk of harpenden station - and i enjoy driving more than commuting on train wink

The main reason why i think it is doable is because i will not be driving at peak times. For day shifts i will be working 7 am to 7pm thus avoiding the peak time traffic. For night shift work 7pm to 7am I will be driving in the opposite direction to the majority.

On paper i think it should be ok to drive, in practice i am not too sure. I have been told that driving on that A5/Edgware road at any time is a nightmare. Does anyone think this is doable or is it just me being an optimistic fool? Do you know of anyone who drives into central london 3-4 times a week.

Any suggestions/advice/opinions are more than welcome.

HalleLouja Wed 15-Dec-10 08:58:16

There used to be a bus that went from St Albans to Victoria - not sure if it still runs but it was run by a company called Green Line.

Also, won't you have to pay congestion charges if you drive in?

BellaBearisWideAwake Wed 15-Dec-10 09:16:42

I used to drive st albans to tufnell park (m1 and a1 and then through highgate) and if I left at 6.45 it would take 45-50 mins. So not nearly as far, but still a long journey.

(if I left at 7 it would take an hour, and there was little point leaving at 7.15 - had to be at work 8.15)

Snorbs Wed 15-Dec-10 09:23:06

It is doable but it could be an absolute pig of a journey. If all goes well you'll probably be looking at about a 60-90min journey each way. If it goes badly - road works, accidents, bad weather etc can all play havoc with London traffic - then it could take a lot, lot longer.

What would you do about parking?

To be honest, as nice as it is in St Albans and Harpenden (I live in St Albans myself) if I were working in the Victoria area then I'd be looking at moving to somewhere in south London where I could use the train.

BellaBearisWideAwake Wed 15-Dec-10 09:27:46

just for the record, I drove because I hated the stupid thameslink - driving was quicker, cheaper and more reliable and I was less likely to get poked in my (pregnant) tummy - since having ds I work in st albans. hate commuting so much.

BelfastRingingOutForXmasBloke Wed 15-Dec-10 09:31:43

I think it's doable at those times. Listen to podcasts. But:

You pretty much would have to take the Edgware Road, at least as the most direct route.

Surely it would cost a fortune in petrol, and parking? I think after Christmas congestion charge won't be an issue, as the Western Extension is being cancelled.

You wouldn't see much of your kid, although 3-4 times a week is easier than 5.

If I was facing that drive, that many times, I'd prioritise a comfy car, and definietly an automatic. Changing gears in traffic jams drive me mad.

Snorbs Wed 15-Dec-10 09:55:08

Actually, if I was faced with that journey I'd go by motorbike. I used to do St Albans to Oxford St by bike and even in rush hour it was only 45min each way. Free parking and no congestion charge too!

geeman Wed 15-Dec-10 16:27:11

wow smile that's nice and quick .....

HalleLouja: thnx for that, completely forgot about the greenline... used to take it to heathrow from hatfield during the uni days.. just checked the timetable, the first bus doesn't get to victoria till 0825 so no good for 0700 start at work.... congestion charge is only on weekdays from 0700-1800 hours and i should be driving outside these hours...

BellaBear: ur response gives me a bit of encouragement, thanks.. especially when i am thinking of driving even earlier ie around 0600 hours and hoping for the roads to be a bit more quieter... was ur journey 45 mins due to a bit of heavy traffic as google maps suggest it should take only 36 mins?
lucky u dont need to commute anymore..envy takes such a big chunk of day staring into nothingness (or atleast thats what i picture myself doing on thameslink if not driving)

Snorbs: 90 mins door to door i think i can manage... any more than that no-no.... in any case there's always thameslink to hop onto during bad weather/lengthy roadworks and that will take 90 mins door to door if i can persuade someone to drive me to the station at 0545 in the morning that is shock.
employer provides parking so thats not a worry at this stage....
Oh, would love to live in epsom/ewell area but got really good friends in luton (with a 4 months babysmile)and easy access to friends in midlands
bike is one of the options i have been secretly thinking about (sounds very exciting) but i can be a little bit of a careless driver sometimes. Now that I have responsibility of being a parent i feel that i shouldnt be taking any unnecessary risks. I think one can get away with being a bit careless in the car (hitting the kerbs or wandering into the hard lane for example) but not so on the bike.. what do you think? can an average car driver be a safe bike driver..?

Belfast: something like a 5 yr old mondeo/skoda superb diesel automatic should be ok on the bills i would have thought... can listen to radio4 or podcasts or talk to friends via bluetooth to help pass the time.... dont need to pay parking and should be able to avoid congestion charges...
true regarding not being able to spend quality time with baby 3/4 days a week but i am hoping spending lots of time together on my off days will compensate for that hmm Edgware road sounds to be the biggie// have u or any one else experience of driving on that...

again it seems doable but need to do some trial runs on it to get a better idea if its for me or not...... i know i guy who used to travel from bath to victoria 3/4 times a day for a couple of years so harpenden/st albans to victoria should be a piece of cake comparatively hmm

BellaBearisWideAwake Wed 15-Dec-10 16:34:32

that was with very little stopping for traffic! And I lived on the south side of st albans so very easy to get on to motorway. The only time I did it in 35 mins was when I had to get to school for 5am for a trip to france, so no traffic at all.

the M1 south of the M25 turn off is actually not too bad. Crossing the north circular was a real pain once rush hour gets going

I would be more worried about travelling st albans to victoria for 7pm than 7am. Even though you are travelling in the 'wrong' direction, it's a complete arse trying to get through st albans 4.30 - 6.30 and it's a nightmare joining the m1/m25. I can't imagine driving through London is much fun either!

BelfastRingingOutForXmasBloke Wed 15-Dec-10 16:36:29

There are lots of back roads to take you off the Edgware Road and down to Ladbroke Grove very quickly early in the morning, but that would put you a bit too far west for Victoria. That might be quckest, though, during an evening drive.

Very early in the morning the Edgware road will be no problem.

geeman Wed 15-Dec-10 16:48:45

thanks a lot guys.. from your responses it seems like worth a try driving from harpenden....

now all thts left is a simple matter of buying a 3bed terraced house in harpenden on quite a tight budget wink

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