diamond geezer

 Wednesday, August 22, 2012

London 2012  Paralympic update
  Be slightly afraid

TfL just launched their campaign to frighten Londoners into changing their travel plans during the Paralympics.

Two problems...
• At the Olympics, everyone knows that transport flowed brilliantly
• The Paralympics are smaller than the Olympics

Which means, whatever contingencies Londoners took last time, it's going to be much harder to persuade them to do the same this time. But with only a week to go, perhaps we should be a little more worried. Here's why.

1) The Paralympics are the second largest sporting event in the world
London's just hosted the number one, now here comes number two. For what's usually the Cinderella partner of the main Games, Britain's certainly taken these Paralympics to heart. More than 2½ million spectators will be turning up, about a third the size of the Olympics, but crammed into two-thirds the number of days. Expect far fewer from abroad, and far more from the UK. They might at least know where they're going, but they're still going to clog up the tubes.

2) Partway through the Paralympics, schools go back and the working crush returns
The Olympics had it easy. School holidays, lots of Londoners off sunning themselves abroad, a deliberately low-key time of year. But there'll be nothing so straight-forward this time. The August Bank Holiday will be over and everyone'll be back to normal, back to routine, and back to filling up the same trains the spectators want to use. Could get tricky.

3) The Paralympics are a lot more focused, geographically
Whereas the Olympics were spread out across town, the Paralympics are more compact, with East London bearing the brunt. Nothing in Herts, nothing in Essex. Nothing at Wembley, nothing in football stadia around the country. Nothing at Earl's Court, nothing at Wimbledon, and only one single event in central London (on the last day of the Games). People in these locations do have justification in deciding not to make special arrangements for the Paralympics. Those around Stratford, ExCel and Greenwich should probably steel themselves, as before.
Olympic Park: Athletics, Football, Goalball, Swimming, Track Cycling, Wheelchair Basketball, Wheelchair Rugby, Wheelchair Tennis
ExCel: Boccia, Judo, Powerlifting, Sitting Volleyball, Table Tennis, Wheelchair Fencing
Greenwich/Woolwich: Archery, Equestrian, Shooting, Wheelchair Basketball
The Mall: Marathon
Brands Hatch: Road Cycling
Eton Dorney: Rowing
Weymouth: Sailing
4) A lot of the events take place almost every day
Swimming, every day. Events at the ExCel, every day. Wheelchair Basketball every day, sometimes in two different locations. Football and athletics, every day but one. This isn't some minor patronising sporting festival, this is big time. Below is a table summarising roughly when all the Paralympic events take place. Events in the Olympic Park are underlined.

  week 1 
29-31 Aug
weekend 1
1-2 Sep
 week 2 
3-7 Sep
 weekend 2 
8-9 Sep
Opening ceremony     
Track cycling, Judo, Rowing     
Equestrian, Wheelchair Basketball     
Archery, Goalball, Powerlifting, Shooting     
AthleticsFootball, Table Tennis, Swimming, Sitting Volleyball, Wheelchair Basketball     
Boccia, Wheelchair Tennis     
Wheelchair Fencing     
Road Cycling, Wheelchair Rugby     
Marathon, Closing ceremony     

5) The Olympic Park is going to be full almost every day
In the first week of the Olympics the Park ran below full capacity, only stepping up in the second. During the Paralympics the Park is likely to be as full as that second week, not the first. Take Athletics, for example. At the Olympics there were fifteen sessions in nine days, whereas at the Paralympics there are eighteen sessions in the same time. That's even more stadiumfuls of spectators this time than last. Ditto the Swimming has been scaled up from fifteen sessions to twenty. That's great, because it means hundreds of thousands more people will be able to enjoy all the special attractions that the Olympic Park offers. Just hope not to meet them all at Stratford station afterwards.

6) Yes, there's a Paralympic Route Network
There'll still be Games Lanes on our roads, but there won't be so many of them, because the PRN is smaller than the ORN. East London's segregated lanes will return, but Central London retains only a single lifeline along the Embankment out to the Cromwell Road. World leaders and the Olympic Family don't come in numbers to these Games, so Park Lane escapes and Russell Square stays media-free. And nothing kicks in on the roads until the morning of Wednesday 29th August, and it's all cleared away after the Victory Parade on Monday 10th September.

7) Keep off the Jubilee line, Central line and DLR if you can
These three lines will be extra busy, as workaday commuters and shoppers mix with spectators and tourists. They won't be stupidly busy all the time, and they may be busy only in the opposite direction to the way you're going, but if you have a sensible alternative route then it's probably a good idea to take it.

8) The Get Ahead of the Games website is still relevant
I know last time round we panicked and maybe it wasn't justified, but perhaps this time you should dig a little deeper on the website. Rather than just looking at the shiny tube map and going "ooh, that station's red", click on the station and scroll down for a lot more information. Congestion forecasts are available in half-hourly slots, and this time the transport planners have made different predictions. London Bridge will allegedly be over-busy every weekday morning between eight and nine-thirty, and every weekday evening between six and about eight. St Pancras International may be rammed on the Javelin for the hour before 9am and the hour after 5pm. Getting on a Central line train at Chancery Lane in the evening rush hour might be hell, although Holborn nowhere near so bad. And as for Stratford itself? Probably not advisable after 10:30 in the evening but other than that, flowing fairly well. So when you see all those magenta signs urging you to go to West Ham instead, stuff those, because the official predictions say you're wasting your time.

9) And which entrance to the Olympic Park should I use again?
Eton Manor Gate: No queues, but expect a long walk
Victoria Gate: No queues, but it's in the middle of nowhere
Greenway Gate: A breeze to get in, but an unnecessary hike from West Ham
Stratford Gate: Yeah, almost certainly fine (expect for late night exits)

10) Brace for business unusual
Who knows how bad, or otherwise, travel will be during the Paralympics? Best be prepared for whatever happens, just in case.

<< click for Newer posts

click for Older Posts >>

click to return to the main page

...or read more in my monthly archives
Jan17  Feb17
Jan16  Feb16  Mar16  Apr16  May16  Jun16  Jul16  Aug16  Sep16  Oct16  Nov16  Dec16
Jan15  Feb15  Mar15  Apr15  May15  Jun15  Jul15  Aug15  Sep15  Oct15  Nov15  Dec15
Jan14  Feb14  Mar14  Apr14  May14  Jun14  Jul14  Aug14  Sep14  Oct14  Nov14  Dec14
Jan13  Feb13  Mar13  Apr13  May13  Jun13  Jul13  Aug13  Sep13  Oct13  Nov13  Dec13
Jan12  Feb12  Mar12  Apr12  May12  Jun12  Jul12  Aug12  Sep12  Oct12  Nov12  Dec12
Jan11  Feb11  Mar11  Apr11  May11  Jun11  Jul11  Aug11  Sep11  Oct11  Nov11  Dec11
Jan10  Feb10  Mar10  Apr10  May10  Jun10  Jul10  Aug10  Sep10  Oct10  Nov10  Dec10 
Jan09  Feb09  Mar09  Apr09  May09  Jun09  Jul09  Aug09  Sep09  Oct09  Nov09  Dec09
Jan08  Feb08  Mar08  Apr08  May08  Jun08  Jul08  Aug08  Sep08  Oct08  Nov08  Dec08
Jan07  Feb07  Mar07  Apr07  May07  Jun07  Jul07  Aug07  Sep07  Oct07  Nov07  Dec07
Jan06  Feb06  Mar06  Apr06  May06  Jun06  Jul06  Aug06  Sep06  Oct06  Nov06  Dec06
Jan05  Feb05  Mar05  Apr05  May05  Jun05  Jul05  Aug05  Sep05  Oct05  Nov05  Dec05
Jan04  Feb04  Mar04  Apr04  May04  Jun04  Jul04  Aug04  Sep04  Oct04  Nov04  Dec04
Jan03  Feb03  Mar03  Apr03  May03  Jun03  Jul03  Aug03  Sep03  Oct03  Nov03  Dec03
 Jan02  Feb02  Mar02  Apr02  May02  Jun02  Jul02 Aug02  Sep02  Oct02  Nov02  Dec02 

eXTReMe Tracker
jack of diamonds
life viewed from london e3

email    twitter    G+

my flickr photostream

What's on this month?
28 Jan – 23 Apr (10am-4.30pm)
Sussex Modernism
The sixth annual exhibition at Two Temple Place focuses on radical art/writing in Sussex, and is damned excellent.

twenty blogs
ian visits
blue witch
city metric
the great wen
edith's streets
spitalfields life
in the aquarium
round the island
wanstead meteo
london museums
christopher fowler
ruth's coastal walk
london reconnections
dirty modern scoundrel

quick reference features
Things to do in Outer London
The DG Tour of Britain
Comment Value Hierarchy

read the archive
Feb17  Jan17
Dec16 Nov16  Oct16  Sep16
Aug16  Jul16  Jun16  May16
Apr16  Mar16  Feb16  Jan16
Dec15  Nov15  Oct15  Sep15
Aug15  Jul15  Jun15  May15
Apr15  Mar15  Feb15  Jan15
Dec14  Nov14  Oct14  Sep14
Aug14  Jul14  Jun14  May14
Apr14  Mar14  Feb14  Jan14
Dec13  Nov13  Oct13  Sep13
Aug13  Jul13  Jun13  May13
Apr13  Mar13  Feb13  Jan13
Dec12  Nov12  Oct12  Sep12
Aug12  Jul12  Jun12  May12
Apr12  Mar12  Feb12  Jan12
Dec11  Nov11  Oct11  Sep11
Aug11  Jul11  Jun11  May11
Apr11  Mar11  Feb11  Jan11
Dec10  Nov10  Oct10  Sep10
Aug10  Jul10  Jun10  May10
Apr10  Mar10  Feb10  Jan10
Dec09  Nov09  Oct09  Sep09
Aug09  Jul09  Jun09  May09
Apr09  Mar09  Feb09  Jan09
Dec08  Nov08  Oct08  Sep08
Aug08  Jul08  Jun08  May08
Apr08  Mar08  Feb08  Jan08
Dec07  Nov07  Oct07  Sep07
Aug07  Jul07  Jun07  May07
Apr07  Mar07  Feb07  Jan07
Dec06  Nov06  Oct06  Sep06
Aug06  Jul06  Jun06  May06
Apr06  Mar06  Feb06  Jan06
Dec05  Nov05  Oct05  Sep05
Aug05  Jul05  Jun05  May05
Apr05  Mar05  Feb05  Jan05
Dec04  Nov04  Oct04  Sep04
Aug04  Jul04  Jun04  May04
Apr04  Mar04  Feb04  Jan04
Dec03  Nov03  Oct03  Sep03
Aug03  Jul03  Jun03  May03
Apr03  Mar03  Feb03  Jan03
Dec02  Nov02  Oct02  Sep02
back to main page

the diamond geezer index
2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002

my special London features
a-z of london museums
E3 - local history month
greenwich meridian (N)
greenwich meridian (S)
the real eastenders
london's lost rivers
olympic park 2007
great british roads
oranges & lemons
random boroughs
bow road station
high street 2012
river westbourne
trafalgar square
capital numbers
east london line
lea valley walk
olympics 2005
regent's canal
square routes
silver jubilee
unlost rivers
cube routes
capital ring
river fleet

ten of my favourite posts
the seven ages of blog
my new Z470xi mobile
five equations of blog
the dome of doom
chemical attraction
quality & risk
london 2102
single life
april fool

ten sets of lovely photos
my "most interesting" photos
london 2012 olympic zone
harris and the hebrides
betjeman's metro-land
marking the meridian
tracing the river fleet
london's lost rivers
inside the gherkin
seven sisters

just surfed in?
here's where to find...
diamond geezers
flash mob #1  #2  #3  #4
ben schott's miscellany
london underground
watch with mother
cigarette warnings
digital time delay
wheelie suitcases
war of the worlds
transit of venus
top of the pops
old buckenham
ladybird books
acorn antiques
digital watches
outer hebrides
olympics 2012
school dinners
pet shop boys
west wycombe
bletchley park
george orwell
big breakfast
clapton pond
san francisco
children's tv
east enders
trunk roads
little britain
credit cards
jury service
big brother
jubilee line
number 1s
titan arum
doctor who
blue peter
peter pan
feng shui
leap year
bbc three
vision on
ID cards