News (and stuff) from London E3

Saturday 2 October 2010

E3 travel update

Run: The Olympic Marathon really isn't coming our way, is it? Not because we're ugly, nor because we're boring, but because we'd disrupt the special lanes of 2012 delegate traffic. Athletes and sponsors have to be able to get around town or else the Games seize up, so apparently it's for the greater good that 100-or-so athletes go running somewhere else. Personally, I don't get it. The road from Aldgate to Bow isn't part of the main Olympic Route Network - all the big limousines are to be directed down round via Poplar instead. There's a half mile overlap close to the stadium, between Bow and Stratford, but this is all dual carriageway and flyover so it'd be piss-easy to separate runners and vehicles. There'd be much more of a gridlock issue at the Tower Bridge end, Lord Coe has hinted, and that's the dealbreaker. But the road to Stratford doesn't start at Tower Bridge, so an eastbound marathon still ought to be perfectly possible. Most bastardly of all, the revised marathon route is then likely to head along Upper Thames Street and the Embankment ("heavily used every day of the Games with most extensive traffic management measures"). If the marathon can still shut three miles of Olympic Core Route in central London, what's the problem with a fraction of a mile further east? Dear Seb, if an announcement on the amputation of the East End's marathon is imminent, you'd better come up with a better excuse than this. A gold-medal-winning PR disaster awaits.

Rail: Good news, travellers. Crossrail looks likely to survive the upcoming slash'n'burn cuts, and will go ahead with all its stations and spurs intact. Which is great if you live in Maidenhead or Romford or Abbey Wood. But still of no use in E3. Ours is the only postcode along the entire route which Crossrail will tunnel under, but within which it won't stop. W1 and W2 get stations, and EC1 and E1, even E16, but not E3. Our nearest stations will be at least a mile away. None of the convenience, but of all the hassle of shaft-building and boring machines for several years. But you're right, who'd want to stop here anyway?

Walk: Boris's Story of London Festival started yesterday, and runs for ten days. There's only one event scheduled for E3, and even then only just. Blue Badge guides are leading £8 walking tours towards the Olympic Park, and they'll be setting off from Bromley-by-Bow station next weekend at 11am. Sounds great, except that these are pretty much the same £8 walking tours which set off from Bromley-by-Bow station every single day of every week. They're pretty popular, it has to be said, but they're by no means a special event put on for the Mayor's festival. If it's a unique local walk you want, I'd recommend the 14th Floor Project's free guided tours round nearby housing estates (being held in E2 and E14 next week) instead.

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