While the authorities have announced the legacy plans for six out of the eight stadia within the Olympic Park (not including the Olympic stadium, the future of which is likely to be tied up in legal wrangles between the competing football clubs of West Ham and Tottenham Hotspur for quite some time) I’ve spotted the structure which I think is the likely to become London 2012′s white elephant.
Transport for London have been rightly praised for the way that the public transport network coped during the Olympics, but that wasn’t entirely down to luck. Clearly some analysis of potential traffic flows was undertaken in advance to reduce the pressures on the main entry point into the Park i.e. Stratford – the main beneficiary of this strategy being West Ham. Despite Stratford being the next station on the board, ticket holders were asked to leave the Jubilee line at West Ham and walk the rest of the way to the Olympic Park along the Greenway. From what I observed, everyone dutifully obeyed this instruction without question or complaint. There’s one logistical problem with this half-kilometre route however – to enter the Olympic Park visitors would have to cross the very busy A11 just before arriving at the gates. This problem was solved by building a massive bridge which traverses the main road and deposits visitors just outside the Olympic Park’s south eastern boundary. Let me explain why I think this bridge is likely to become the white elephant of the London 2012 Olympic Games:
I’m very familiar with this stretch of the Greenway and in my experience, even on sunny weekends, few people use it. It’s not particularly leafy – in fact it skirts light industrial areas and runs behind housing estates for much of its length. Hardly the most attractive place to take a summer stroll, particularly when it gets a bit smelly in warmer weather (you are, after all, walking on top of the Northern Outfall Sewer). Once the Paralympics is over and the gates to the Olympic Park are sealed for eighteen months I can’t see this gargantuan wooden-clad structure seeing more than the occasional dog walker. Do you think I might just have uncovered the London 2012 white elephant?