diamond geezer

 Friday, August 03, 2012

Today's one of the busiest days in the Olympic Park, as the Athletics finally kicks off and two additional stadiumfuls of spectators pour inside. But can the Park cope? It's been busy enough these last couple of days, especially at lunchtime and in the early evening inbetween sessions. With a hundred thousand more bodies milling around hunting for food, entertainment or the exit, there'll be a lot more pressure on the main routes between the venues. Up on the tarmac walkways an army of Games Makers are attempting to establish a "Keep Left" policy. It's worked well thus far, and has also prevented too many collisions with oncoming mobility vehicles. The network of footpaths nearer the river has also coped well, not least because most visitors haven't discovered they can walk this way. But there's an unexpected pressure point amongst the landscaped gardens, because people will insist on walking where they shouldn't.

The parklands are gorgeous, definitely a highlight of the main Olympic site. But the number of paths through is limited, and the number of entrances few, which means visitors are starting to wander where the designers had assumed they wouldn't. People don't want to walk along the lengthy zigzag path from the wetlands, so they've been cutting up the steep grassy slope instead. People don't want to walk the long way round to enter the big screen area at Park Live, so they're traipsing through the flowerbeds instead. People who want to reach the giant rings opposite the Basketball Arena don't want to go round the long way, so they're walking straight up the escarpment through the undergrowth. There aren't a huge number of tramplers, don't get me wrong. But it only takes one person to shortcut off the path and all those long months of cultivation are quickly wrecked.

The Park's designers haven't helped themselves in several respects. Several paths take the long route, so the shortcut across the flowers looks mighty tempting. Some of the paths in the Park are dead ends, so perhaps it's not surprising when people decide to continue. The big screens have insufficient lawn space, so spectators are trampling the bedding plants to get a view. One long semicircular lawn near the bandstand has only one entrance, so it's entirely understandable when people decide to head onwards through the vegetation at the far end. Some of the planted beds have low groundcover which is precisely the sort of thing you might walk across in woodland, so why not here? And once one person's walked the wrong way the path grows, and bad behaviour spreads.

LOCOG have started taking preventative action. Additional rope barriers have been added to deter the creation of desire line footpaths. Chains of metal barriers have been erected along the edge of over-tempting flowerbeds, decorated with orange or pink banners for concealment purposes. Signs have gone up saying "Please respect the Landscape so that others may enjoy it", although quite frankly they're a bit obtuse, and most visitors won't realise precisely what they're being asked not to do. When standing at the top of a slope with a trampled-down track ahead, who'd know that this isn't a deliberate footpath. More direct signs reading "Do not walk on the flowerbeds" would be ugly and intrusive, but their absence risks creating a slowburn eyesore.

I realise now how fortunate I was to see the gardens on their first morning - pristine, untouched and unsullied. Back then a number of Games Makers were dotted throughout the parkland, seemingly doing nothing, but they've since been withdrawn and now there's almost no supervision. It's a shame to see the Olympic Park Gardens being disrespected by visitors who don't seem to realise what they're doing. Don't worry, it's only a minor issue at the moment, and the 2012 Gardens in the southern half of the park are barely affected. The parklands are still absolutely gorgeous, a true triumph of the Games, but the degeneration can only increase.

The gardeners will have a chance to repair their creation in the hiatus between the Olympics and Paralympics. There also appear to be fresh flowers waiting to bloom at the end of this month, so later visitors should still see a blooming great show. My fear is for the legacy phase, when this becomes Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, open 24 hours a day to the entire local neighbourhood. There's no way that ornamental flowerbeds and planted slopes can survive unsupervised public onslaught, not when they look like genuine access cut-throughs. Let's hope the planners find a solution when the north end of the Park reopens in a year's time, else the Games' bequest to the people of East London may be a masterpiece that peaked last weekend.

<< 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