diamond geezer

 Friday, July 29, 2016

There's easily enough unfinished stuff around the Olympic Park to fill a second post. To the south of the park, a lot of that is the fault of Crossrail, who are still building a railway link from a tunnel under the Lea to the platforms at Stratford station. What with Olympic construction followed by Crossrail construction, a large area around Pudding Mill Lane will have been sealed for over ten years by the time it's eventually released back to the public. So today let's see how easy it is to get into the Olympic Park from Stratford High Street, or not.

From the Bow Roundabout, along the River Lea [YES]
This works, indeed other than during the Games themselves the towpath alongside the Lea has been open pretty much all the time. But at present that's only because the National Grid are playing nice. They're building an electricity substation beside the river, immediately above the portal from which Crossrail trains bound for Shenfield will emerge. It's not glamorous work but it is essential, and requires renewing the cables which run below the towpath. A floating towpath has been built, and will continue to bypass the edge of the river until September when normal passage will be resumed. The next stretch of towpath looks much like it did ten years ago, with blackberries already ripening along the spiky fence, and the backs of old brick sheds in Fish Island facing across the Lea. But look, there's an old Water Chariots boat moored up, and still in its original livery, and further along a 2012-inspired Water Bus stop where it seems no park service will ever stop. All this plus no less than three ways into the Olympic Park proper, one via the Greenway, one along the Old River Lea, and one round the back of the former Big Breakfast house.

Cooks Road [NO]
Reopening Spring 2015, says the sign at the end of the road placed there (somewhat optimistically) in 2009. Not a chance. Crossrail sequentially demolished all the industrial buildings that used to line Cooks and Barbers Roads, from wholesalers to proper waste-belchers, and now a tunnel emerges where a run of warehouses used to stand. With no road remaining, there's not a hope of getting through until they've finished, whenever.

Marshgate Lane [YES]
This route's also stayed open almost all of the time, not least because there's a DLR station up ahead. In good news, the diversion passengers have had to walk for the last couple of years has now been cleared, so it's again possible to walk straight on rather than diverting past a building site and walls of hoardings. Recently a very large area alongside has been used for the storage of thousands of seats from the Olympic stadium. I had been wondering if they were on their way out, but yesterday I watched a convoy of lorries setting off each with three rows of chairs on the back, so I assume they're heading back inside to provide retractable seating for West Ham supporters sitting above the athletics track for next Thursday's opening match.

The railway bridge over Marshgate Lane now has (count them) seven spans - one for the DLR, three for Crossrail, the original Victorian arched bridge and two mainline extensions on either side. On the far side, the area that used to be the warm-up track during the Games now lies empty, apart from some diggers and several mountains of earth. This area may never be housing, it's still zoned industrial, and there are already plans to site a quartet of concrete and asphalt factories on the far side - locals are not pleased. Meanwhile the View Tube remains open, the allure of the container cafe proving strong even though it's no longer the only place to view the scene. Indeed all the upstairs doors are now locked, cutting off access to the internal and external balconies, with ground floor caffeination and cycle hire now the main thrust of operations.

Blaker Road [NO]
One of the more unusual entrances to the former Marshgate Lane Industrial Estate, this, but now the dead end it always looked like it was from a distance. Pass the old lockkeepers cottage, recently boarded off to await not-quite sympathetic redevelopment, and continue past the pre-Olympic flats up Otter Close. At the far end before the railway is proper old set of steps, up and then down, to the waterside where dragonflies and damselflies skim over the weedy water. It's one of my favourite hidden spots where I could sit for hours, if only it wasn't also a favourite spot for people who drink and then leave smashed glass everywhere. Instead I have to retrace my steps, because the foot tunnel underneath the Greenway has been sealed for nine years now, and the dark gloom within shows no sign of ever opening up.

The Greenway [NO]
This is the biggest disappointment, still being closed when during the Games it was a main point of entry. Technically it belongs to Thames Water, what with most of North London's effluent passing in giant tubes underneath, but this should be QEOP's main southern entrance leading up from Stratford High Street where a pedestrian crossing has been installed specially. But no, more of those linked-together metal barriers still block the entrance, and then there's another set of more permanent fencing a hundred yards further on, just to be sure. If you head round to the other end of the pathway, where it enters the park proper beyond the railway, again there are two sets of metal barriers to keep you out, plus invariably the sound of water pouring slowly into the river from a pipe. It looks a bit of a mess beneath the railway, always has since 2012, and if you look very carefully you'll see a highly intriguing sign which says "Warning Laser Beam". This might be why we're kept away, or it might be more to do with connecting Crossrail to the mainline railway, but for goodness sake can't somebody fix whatever needs fixing and allow us back through?

Bridgewater Road [NO]
An insignificant-looking turning off Warton Road, between new flats and a long derelict pile, this brief sidestreet leads up to an old iron bridge over the Waterworks River. You wouldn't walk this way, but if you did you'd find a barrier leading to another Crossrail-related building site, plus a long-promised pre-Games survivor. Back in 2007, somewhat infamously, the Manor Gardens allotment society were evicted from their long-held plots about a mile north of here along the Lea. One replacement site was swiftly created in Waltham Forest, but part two has taken considerably longer, with the Pudding Mill site only handed over earlier this year. There are 50 plots, still somewhat sparse, but several of the original members now have sheds again and somewhere to grow whatever. Look out if you're ever passing on the DLR, and watch the place thrive.

Between the allotments and the river is a footpath, and a public one too. A magenta fingerpost makes clear there should be an access route from Stratford High Street and the Greenway in one direction to Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in the other. But it's not yet open, closed in one direction by a sign and in the other by some familiar-looking metal barriers. Again the problem section appears to be the passage beneath the railway because yes, there are barriers on the other side in the very bottom corner of the park. My map of "Art in the Park" (from a booklet published in 2014) informs me that an artwork called Streamline is supposed to appear in the underpass, comprising "a series of motion-activated LED illuminations." The lights are supposed to mimic the shadows of overhead swimmers, which sounds rather good, but of this promised artwork there is no sign. Has the technology proved to hard to install, or has the money run out, and is the absence of the art the sole reason why this access route remains closed?

Warton Road [YES]
At last, a proper way in. But I still curse the legacy planner whose design for the Warton Road roundabout made pedestrian access to the Olympic Park a miserably low priority. With only one pavement under the railway, and no zebra crossing where the other fades out, the way in from the west has been made unnecessarily tortuous. It's yet another indication of how the Olympic Park's southern interface continues to feel something of an afterthought, far less well knitted than Hackney Wick to the west, Leyton to the north and Stratford City to the east. Or maybe we southerners simply have to be more patient than our counterparts, and wait for Crossrail to skedaddle, and then we'll finally be a proper part of the grand scheme too.

Carpenters Road [YES]
It does work, it does happen - the long-blocked tunnel from the Carpenters Estate was cleared in late 2014, providing proper access for local residents. It's just that those residents are now relatively few in number as Newham seeks to flush them out, their aim to replace what they describe as substandard housing by something more modern, and more dense. Over the last decade one of London's poorest council estates has found itself at the eye of a development hurricane, and it can't be long before the remainder of the community is dispersed to make way for new. We'd do well to remember that access to the Olympic Park isn't always a blessing... unless that is you're hoping to move in rather than be moved out.

My Olympic Park 2016 gallery
There are 50 photos altogether [slideshow]

<< click for Newer posts

click for Older Posts >>

click to return to the main page

...or read more in my monthly archives
Jan16  Feb16  Mar16  Apr16  May16  Jun16  Jul16  Aug16  Sep16  Oct16
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 weekend?
Wed 19th - Sun 23rd October
Bloomsbury Festival
It's free to visit the Foundling Museum this weekend.

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
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

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

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