Thursday, March 19, 2009

Concern Over 'Zil Lane' Proposals

The Conservative group has responded to plans for an Olympic Route Network following a presentation from the ODA yesterday afternoon. We are concerned that the proposals, which will affect some roads in 26 of the 32 London boroughs, will disadvantage Londoners.

The designated roads will be priority routes for traffic carrying members of the Olympic Family to and from venues and training sites. Olympic traffic will be given priority, in some cases requiring designated lanes and temporary junction alterations. The scheme will operate for three months over the Summer of 2012. For eighteen months leading up to the games non emergency road works will also be prohibited on these routes.

The route map includes some of the busiest roads between the West End and Stratford, parts of the North Circular, and the Blackwall Tunnel.

The priority users, forming the somewhat extended Olympic family will be made up of:

10,500 athletes and competitors.
22,000 IOC officials.
22,500 journalists.

We are concerned that this list of users is far too large and the effect will be to worsen congestion for Londoners seeking to go about their business. Running a successful games is vital but the essential day to day activities of our capital must not be put at risk. The network might reverse some of the journey time improvements we are expecting Boris to deliver with his new hierarchy free transport strategy.

We are also keen to ensure that traffic restrictions brought in for the duration of the games are actually reversed and do not linger after everything is packed up and the circus leaves town. That would be a very unwelcome legacy.


Barkingside 21 said...

What is a "hierarchy free transport strategy"?

sonia macdonald said...

22,000 officials?

Excuse me, what did you say, twenty-two thousand officials?

No, really, for a moment there I thought you said


Because the words 'train' and 'gravy' sprang immediately to mind.

But then I thought: 'Ive known Roger for years, and he doesn't tell porkies, so either it's a typing error, or he's been sipping the Prime Minister's tea, or, oh God no, please, IT'S TRUE!!'

Where can I get a job as an Olympic official?

Roger Evans said...

B21 - a hierarchy free transport strategy recognises that all transport users, including motorists, are tax paying customers and deserve a service, not victimisation. It also recognises that most people use all forms of transport at one time or another - the exception being cycling which is seen as a niche activity, but less so after our event in June, no doubt. After twelve years of divisive NewLab policies the idea of government for everyone, not just some groups, will take getting used to...

Sonia - yes it really is 22,000, the number is quoted in the ODA presentation. How many Olympic officials does it take to change a light bulb?

Barkingside 21 said...

Thanks, pedestrians too I hope?

Now, what exactly is an “IOC Official”?

Does it include referees, judges, starters, medical staff, drug testers, stewards, first aid, back room technicians who operate the scoreboards etc.

And if so, what proportion of that 22,000 could be deemed to be essential staff as opposed to mumpers, sorry VIPs?

Roger Evans said...

Pedestrians - I hope too, being an avid walker. In recent years a lot of signposting has improved e.g. the Capital Ring, but much still needs to be done.

IOC officials - the precise make up of this category is unavailable. I'm sure it comprises all the examples you have suggested and more...

Rog T said...


With regards to the 22,000 officials. having a daughter in the Olympic development team for swimming, I probably know a little more about the subject than some. There are 400 different Olympic events. If we say that 20 countries will compete in each event, then that works out at 2.75 officials per team per event.

It sounds like a lot until you consider the sheer scale of the games. Just as an example, my daughter swam at the British Swimming Championships this week. In the 800 Metres freestyle, there were 35 competitors from many different clubs teams. For the Olympics, add all of the national officials for every different country. That is what we've taken on. It is huge and 22,000 officials does not sound unreasonable. You may remember that there was a furore in Beijing at the Tai Kwando, where a British athelete was unfairly beaten when she scored a hit on an opponent. It was the British team officials who got the result overturned. A team needs the backup of such experts in this day and age.

sonia macdonald said...

RogT - whilst wishing your daughter the best of luck, all that I am learning about the Olympics (and have learnt about past events in other cities) makes me feel even more strongly that there should be one permanent site, probably in Greece.....

but definitely not in London!