Vast construction projects like the Olympic Games produce major traffic diversion and congestion effects for years before and after the event. In an area with so few through routes across the marshes of Hackney and Stratford, traffic planning and management would require close attention and nimble responses to bottlenecks. The marginalisation of cyclists safer routes was compounded by closing off the popular towpath of the River Lee Navigation during much of the construction and Games phases. In addition the Olympic Delivery Authority announced that it planned to ban cycle traffic from most of the Lea interchange carriageway during the Games.
The slow response to urgent cries of alarm about hazards to cyclists failed to prevent the deaths of three cyclists in the area during this period. Two at the Bow roundabout junction caused by tipper trucks and one at the Eastway interchange.
“With just over one month to go until the official opening of the Lee Valley VeloPark, many of the clubs that used the old Eastway Cycle Circuit, which was demolished in 2006 to make way for the Olympic Park, feel betrayed to find that the new home they believed they had been promised will fail to materialise.
“Its like we’d been campaigning to get a theatre built so your local amateur dramatics and actors could get on the stage, but the people who were supposed to go on the stage don’t get a look in,” said Michael Humphreys from the Eastway Users Group.
Clubs local to the park have reported being unable to book sessions and finding it difficult to communicate with the organisation that runs the facility, Lee Valley Regional Park Authority (LVRPA).
Having fought hard to secure the facilities following the Olympics Games, they now fear that they will lose out as demand soars from corporate customers hoping to use the velodrome, cycle circuit, mountain bike course and BMX track.
“It does seem to me that the demand will be from those who can foot the biggest bill, and it doesn’t seem like there has been any specific effort to work with clubs from the community,” said Bruce Mackie from Lee Valley Youth CC. February 12, 2014. Read more