diamond geezer

 Friday, July 29, 2022

The Olympic Park is really two parks with a massive great road in the middle.



This central road was already under construction before London won its bid, because planners assumed people would one day want to drive to Stratford International station. But it does form an annoying barrier, like the neck of an hourglass, with pedestrians and cyclists pretty much forced to cross the central traffic lights every time. The planners did what they could given the underlying Overground line couldn't be moved, nor ducked under. But with the long-term plan being to build flats either side of this constriction, the Olympic Park is really two parks with a dysfunctional gap in the middle.

But at least you can get across. There are still several genuine disconnects around the edge of the park where, even ten years on, nobody's yet managed to stitch inside and outside together.



Northwall Road: They needed this kilometre-long cut-through as a northern distributor road for back-of-house services during the Olympics. But they massively overengineered it, have subsequently blocked off both ends and it now exists as an unused concrete chasm behind the Velodrome as the archetypal road to nowhere. It doesn't help that only one footpath connects onto it from the Park, linking to a central point nowhere near any convenient exit. And it really doesn't help that there should be a second connection by the A12 junction but the perimeter fence has no pedestrian access, only a gate for vehicles that's always* locked. Several footpaths in the park lead to this deadzone, and a pedestrian crossing with ramps has been deliberately added on the other side, but it's all wasted infrastructure for the want of a simple gap in the fence.
* At the moment, thanks to the Commonwealth Games, this gate is wide open. Vehicles need to be able to get through to a festival site in the north of the park, plus Northwall Road itself has been requisitioned for secure access to the Velodrome so is brimming with police vans and a private security presence. I do not recommend dropping by what's currently an unfriendly authoritarian enclave. But in normal times, very much locked.

Leyton: There isn't an easy way into the Park from Leyton. You either divert past New Spitalfields Market or walk down to Temple Mills, two points peripherally one mile apart, because there's absolutely no access inbetween. A path alongside the A12 would solve it, or a footbridge over the railway from the back of the Asda car park, but neither of these are practical future options. It's why Leyton was never a decent bridgehead to the Games 10 years ago, and is still unnecessarily cut off today.

Westfield: Stratford's mega-shopping centre was destined to be built even had the Games not gone ahead. Alas it was never designed to be easy to get out of, because that's how retail circulation works, so revelled in being the gateway through which befuddled Games-goers would have to percolate. Passing through from Stratford town centre still requires at least one change of level, and even then there's only one direct route into the Park past shops and all the restaurants and the Aquatics Centre. Boundary stitching might improve once the cultural treats along East Bank finally open to the public, but Westfield is always going to be an accessibility blot.



City Mill River: The northbound path alongside the City Mill River was sealed in July 2007 and has never reopened. That's probably because it used to pass through a manky tunnel under the Greenway sewer which it'd be hard to tempt anyone back into, even with lighting. But it means the riverside path from Stratford High Street suddenly stops dead at a locked grille, down a ramp currently liberally scattered with open suitcases, empty capsules and lager cans, which benefits nobody.



They closed the southbound path alongside the City Mill River in September 2012 and it has never reopened. I suspect I was one of the last people down it after the Paralympic Closing Ceremony. But for the last ten years it's been permanently fenced off, despite being the obvious intended continuation of the riverside promenade through the Olympic Park, with two paths and a set of steps all leading down to a pair of 'temporary' metal barriers. This being East London someone's ripped a hole in the first and pushed aside the second, so you can in fact walk on through the mossy railway arch beyond, but ultimately there's no escape from the overgrown ramp on the far side. This is the Bridgewater Triangle, last used for security friskdowns during the Games and since pencilled in for 600 homes as part of the Pudding Mill neighbourhood. But as yet no flats have been built, and even when they are plans suggest no reconnection is intended which would be a ghastly unstitched error.

Bow: There isn't an easy way into the Park from Bow. You either divert past Pudding Mill Lane station or walk up the River Lea to Old Ford, two points peripherally one mile apart, because there's absolutely no access inbetween. Barriers include the A12 dual carriageway, a railway viaduct, an aggregates depot and a Victorian mega-sewer, four impenetrables it's basically impossible to do anything about. But it always niggles me that I'm ten minutes from the Olympic Stadium as the crow flies yet it's impossible to get there in less than twenty.

On the positive side, the western side of the Olympic Park is impressively well connected to local neighbourhoods. There's always been a crossing at Old Ford Lock, then sequentially north of that are a 2019 footbridge and 2021 road bridge, the old bridge at White Post Lane, a 2014 footbridge to Hackney Wick and a recently-opened footbridge opposite Here East. As yet there's no evidence that the Fish Island road bridge will ever be opened to buses because the last 10 metres of tarmac remains unlaid, but for cyclists and pedestrians the western boundary is encouragingly permeable.



Also, sometimes it gets unexpectedly better. There's an awkward chasm between Westfield and the Aquatics Centre, thanks to the Overground and other railways, where one loop road descends and another ascends immediately alongside. Alas nobody had the forethought to add a pedestrian connection between the two so shortcutters learned to squeeze through a narrow gap in the railings, which planners then vengefully fenced off. Now they've thought again and are busy making a proper connection even cyclists will be able to use, making it much easier to get from the new university campus to Carpenters Road or from Sidings Street to Westfield. Ten years late, but better late than never.

It's good to see someone somewhere is still thinking of ways to make access to the Park better. There are a few other places they could look next...


<< click for Newer posts

click for Older Posts >>


click to return to the main page


...or read more in my monthly archives
Jan22  Feb22  Mar22  Apr22  May22  Jun22  Jul22  Aug22
Jan21  Feb21  Mar21  Apr21  May21  Jun21  Jul21  Aug21  Sep21  Oct21  Nov21  Dec21
Jan20  Feb20  Mar20  Apr20  May20  Jun20  Jul20  Aug20  Sep20  Oct20  Nov20  Dec20
Jan19  Feb19  Mar19  Apr19  May19  Jun19  Jul19  Aug19  Sep19  Oct19  Nov19  Dec19
Jan18  Feb18  Mar18  Apr18  May18  Jun18  Jul18  Aug18  Sep18  Oct18  Nov18  Dec18
Jan17  Feb17  Mar17  Apr17  May17  Jun17  Jul17  Aug17  Sep17  Oct17  Nov17  Dec17
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 me
» follow me on twitter
» follow the blog on Twitter
» follow the blog on RSS

» my flickr photostream

twenty blogs
853
our bow
arseblog
ian visits
londonist
blue witch
the great wen
edith's streets
spitalfields life
linkmachinego
round the island
wanstead meteo
christopher fowler
bus and train user
ruth's coastal walk
the ladies who bus
round the rails we go
london reconnections
dirty modern scoundrel
from the murky depths

quick reference features
Things to do in Outer London
Things to do outside London
Inner London toilet map
The DG Tour of Britain
#coronavirus

read the archive
Aug22  Jul22  Jun22  May22
Apr22  Mar22  Feb22  Jan22
Dec21  Nov21  Oct21  Sep21
Aug21  Jul21  Jun21  May21
Apr21  Mar21  Feb21  Jan21
Dec20  Nov20  Oct20  Sep20
Aug20  Jul20  Jun20  May20
Apr20  Mar20  Feb20  Jan20
Dec19  Nov19  Oct19  Sep19
Aug19  Jul19  Jun19  May19
Apr19  Mar19  Feb19  Jan19
Dec18  Nov18  Oct18  Sep18
Aug18  Jul18  Jun18  May18
Apr18  Mar18  Feb18  Jan18
Dec17  Nov17  Oct17  Sep17
Aug17  Jul17  Jun17  May17
Apr17  Mar17  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
2021 2020 2019 2018 2017
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
Herbert Dip
metro-land
capital ring
river fleet
piccadilly
bakerloo

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
boredom
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
iceland

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
thunderbirds
routemaster
children's tv
east enders
trunk roads
amsterdam
little britain
credit cards
jury service
big brother
jubilee line
number 1s
titan arum
typewriters
doctor who
coronation
comments
blue peter
matchgirls
hurricanes
buzzwords
brookside
monopoly
peter pan
starbucks
feng shui
leap year
manbags
bbc three
vision on
piccadilly
meridian
concorde
wembley
islington
ID cards
bedtime
freeview
beckton
blogads
eclipses
letraset
arsenal
sitcoms
gherkin
calories
everest
muffins
sudoku
camilla
london
ceefax
robbie
becks
dome
BBC2
paris
lotto
118
itv