diamond geezer

 Tuesday, July 05, 2011

London 2012  Olympic update
  Four years on

It's four years since the Olympic Park was sealed off to outsiders. Four years since the perimeter fence went up and the rebuilding within began. It's not fully ready yet, and doesn't need to be for another year, but blimey what a transformation. I've been up on the Greenway overlooking the stadium to see what's new, as of summer 2011. And it's simultaneously great and not so promising.

I'm still impressed that it's possible for the public to walk unhindered along the Greenway through the Olympic Park. But something's afoot. A new security barrier is being constructed, not right up at the Hackney Wick end but close, precisely at the point where the sewertop path heads across the River Lea. Two tall yellow gateways have appeared - thick metal frames designed to restrict and control pedestrian flow. Each is supported by two chunky black lozenges, solid enough to prevent anything unwanted from driving through. Only half of the path is covered so far, but further black lozenges are stashed on the grass alongside for later use. One of these is attached to a hinged yellow barrier that'll one day be swung across by some security official to block passage, just like you'll find in town protecting the Palace of Westminster. A still-wrapped sign reads "Cyclists Dismount", and another warns of "Active Pedestrian Management Scheme In Place". We're only guests here, remember that.

This is "Hostile Vehicle Mitigation", or HVM, and has been provided and installed by a Surrey security company. The Greenway now has its own "bi-Steel anti-attack vehicle barrier system" "fully tested in accordance with PAS 68:2010" "providing robust protection against vehicle borne explosive attack". There are some pretty flowers alongside, for contrast, plus some wag has installed the whole thing next to an old wartime pillbox. This defence overload feels ridiculously unnecessary, especially when the first Olympic event is still over a year away. But I guess there's an Olympic Risk Register somewhere requiring mitigation, coupled with official paranoia that some terrorist might drive a bomb-packed lorry along the Greenway tomorrow generating a major radioactive fallout incident. Can't be too careful, I guess, although as yet there's no protection against either remote-controlled exploding narrowboats or kamikaze elephants parachuted in by helicopter.

Cross the river and the Greenway is its usual scenic self, so long as you concentrate on the wild flower carpet and not the canyon of metal fences to either side. The Olympic Stadium's been finished for some time, but one major recent change lies opposite. Where there used to be a cement works, that's disappeared, and the ground completely levelled in readiness for the Olympic warm-up track. The Park isn't ready yet, not by a long chalk, but this is one of the simpler construction projects. On a nearby lamppost, in tiny laminated print, the Olympic Delivery Authority have pinned up a planning notice they hope nobody'll read. At eleven different park venues, a Variation of Condition, "to reduce the on-site renewable energy generation requirements from 20% of annual carbon emissions" to "at least 9%". Greenest Games ever, still, honest.

The View Tube's looking better than it was in the spring. Someone's fenced off what used to be over-trodden mud at the top of the ramp and attempted to create a garden. Flowers and low shrubs have burst forth along the railings opposite, except for one threadbare patch which has been abandoned to the trampling feet of thousands of visitors. There are plenty of visitors too - the Container Cafe is regularly busier than Starbucks in central Stratford. And somebody's finally had the commercial nous to open up an Olympic souvenir shop inside the row of lime-green lock-ups alongside. Pin badges for £6, Mandeville notebooks for five, and a variety of giftware they'll only flog you if you're proud enough to use Visa. Business is not brisk.

The best view of the surrounding area is still from the View Tube's upper deck. The Orbit's grown further, its red steel coils now taller than the stadium nextdoor, plus two even loftier cranes ready to lift pre-assembled jigsaw pieces into the sky [photo]. At its base, where there used to be railway sidings, now there are trees. They're all shipped in from elsewhere, and the current effect is more windswept Milton Keynes plaza than rural paradise, but it's a start. The land between the Greenway and the Stadium is scrubbed clean ready to become a Service Area in 2012 (and maybe your home a decade later) [photo]. And there behind the water-winged Aquatic Centre, there's Westfield City, its retail magnet still two months short of switching on. The entire panorama promises irreversible change, but nobody's quite ready to give us access just yet.

» Newly-published Olympic podcast tour, along the Greenway from the View Tube to Old Ford Lock

<< 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