Inside The 2012 Olympic Park - Local Residents' Bus Tour

By Londonist Last edited 102 months ago
Inside The 2012 Olympic Park - Local Residents' Bus Tour
The park will have two main entrances: the north and south Plazas. Ironically, for the duration of the Olympics, Europe’s busiest football pitch, Hackney Marshes, will be closed and serve as Europe’s largest coach park.
The park will have two main entrances: the north and south Plazas. Ironically, for the duration of the Olympics, Europe's busiest football pitch, Hackney Marshes, will be closed and serve as Europe's largest coach park.
A north-east view of the Olympic Stadium, about as close as you can come without working for the ODA. The stadia are all planned to be finished by 2011 for a series of public test events. Proposed ideas include moving London’s official 2011/12 New Years Eve from the Thames to the Olympic Park
A north-east view of the Olympic Stadium, about as close as you can come without working for the ODA. The stadia are all planned to be finished by 2011 for a series of public test events. Proposed ideas include moving London's official 2011/12 New Years Eve from the Thames to the Olympic Park
Our tourguide, Des. A Newham resident himself and enthusiastic Goalball fan. The GB handball team is still recruiting for players, applications will be considered from females over 5’11� or males over 6’7�
Our tourguide, Des. A Newham resident himself and enthusiastic Goalball fan. The GB handball team is still recruiting for players, applications will be considered from females over 5'11” or males over 6'7”
Take-home park map and ubiquitous feedback form. Interestingly, the 2012_bold typeface, so prevalent in the area surrounding the park, I didn’t see once within the site
Take-home park map and ubiquitous feedback form. Interestingly, the 2012_bold typeface, so prevalent in the area surrounding the park, I didn't see once within the site
The site due to become the Basketball stadium. Also one of the Athletes Village blocks in the background. A temporary stadium, the basketball arena will ironically not host the basketball medal finals (they will be in the O2), and will be taken down swiftly after the close of the games.
The site due to become the Basketball stadium. Also one of the Athletes Village blocks in the background. A temporary stadium, the basketball arena will ironically not host the basketball medal finals (they will be in the O2), and will be taken down swiftly after the close of the games.
As viewed from the west, this is the recently completed roof skeleton of the Aquatics Centre. Digging of the pools begins within weeks.
As viewed from the west, this is the recently completed roof skeleton of the Aquatics Centre. Digging of the pools begins within weeks.
Temporary scaffold supports hold the 2,800 ton roof in place, raising and lowering as necessary. The Aquatics Centre viewed from the North.
Temporary scaffold supports hold the 2,800 ton roof in place, raising and lowering as necessary. The Aquatics Centre viewed from the North.

For local residents, living just outside gate 14 of the Olympic Park development, contact with the Olympic Development is regular and pretty proactive. Ordinarily, updates come from the colourful quarterly fact-and-stat magazine "Engage" diligently delivered by LOCOG through the letterbox. They also run weekend residents' bus tours of the park which we went on for a closer look at what's going on behind the 24 hour security and seventeen kilometres of fencing.

Picked up on a blustery Saturday morning from Stratford station, and with photo-ID scrutinised, we climbed aboard our tour bus, and with half-ironic cries of "Where's the drinks trolley?" we were off. It was a quarter to ten. Or 1030 days, 5 hours until the 2012 opening ceremony. Or 16 hours since Rio was named as host city for the 2016 games.Over the course of an hour, driving North to South, we took in most of the main stadia and building projects. Almost all the preparatory and underground work has been completed, so as the architectural ideas start to manifest themselves, the site has really started to take on the shape and character of a park, rather than an unfathomable mess of manfrastructure. The Main Stadium, Velodrome, Aquatics Centre and enormous Media Centre all now have at least recognisable structural outlines, all of which are admittedly pretty inspiring sights, particularly up close.The overwhelming sensation - other than that of falling into a giant Meccano set- was of a project growing right under our feet. Indeed, such is the constant, rumbling swing and shift of the site that even Des, our tour guide, lost his bearings on one occasion, mildly cursing the new road layout put in place in the 7 short days since his last tour.The commentary was quite soft and, as to be expected, focused on the local impact of the site. At times a little whimsically indulgent - the tale of the thousands of frogs relocated from the Lee Navigation for a "holiday in Wanstead" while the canal is dredged was a little hard to swallow, and prompted one fellow passengers to sensibly enquire "how will they know the same ones are coming back?" - but on the whole we weren't treated to too much grand spin, and our guide was happy to admit when he didn't know the answer to questions. The topic of ticket distribution for locals was a hot topic among our group, but not one that is ready to be addressed it seems.This selection of photos of the tour make an interesting contrast to the ones taken on the last Londonist trip five months ago.
Words and images by Sam Hawkins.

Last Updated 05 October 2009

mralistair

I think the caption on this is wrong, the steel you can see IS the statium
http://2pat.files.wordpress.co...

Apparently this is the top half and will be taken down after the event leaving a much smaller venue.

SammyH

The tour commentary did tell us that both black and white steel frames would not be part of the finished stadium. The implication was that this would be before the stadium opened. There is a possibility this was confused with the changes to the stadium in 'Legacy Mode' after the games.

LDA press office are going to check for me. Will amend the caption with their facts come over.

M@

Sammy - the caption's definitely wrong. It's in legacy that the frames and upper tiers will be removed (although even that's not 100% certain any more).

SammyH

Thanks Matt. Changed the caption. Does make you wonder what part of the plan isn't 'under review' at the moment.

teana

2012 is the year of armageddon. I doubt if OG will take place at all in 2012