The Olympian struggle to get around London

Olympics site July 2012 © ∂å

MOST DALSTONERS and other East Londoners may be lacking tickets to the2012 Olympic and Paralympic games but they are about to find themselves conscripted to compete in them. Their event will be the Struggle To Get To Work. Or anywhere.

Already, confusing signs are appearing on the roads, and the information bombardment has gone into Göbbels mode. On the Tube, overground and buses, in the media and on the internet, the Blitzkrieg of lists of closures, bans and restrictions has started.
Many people have decided they’ll try to read (yawn), decipher (some chance) and absorb (wha’?) what is relevant to their commute — but later. Like, uhm… well, later.

Loving Dalston is one of those people, reasoning that feet and the bicycle will be the answer to travel problems in the capital, and that the many news aspects, such as shops finding themselves unable to accept deliveries, will be well reported by the Evening Standard, local BBC and other mainstream media. So no need to bother.

One email however, looked to be worth opening. It was from something calling itself the Games Local Engagement Team, which must be Big Brother speak for You’ve been entered in the Struggle To Get To Work event.

Friday 13 July 2012 is, it suggests, when the starting pistol will be fired. Yep, on Friday the 13th bossy men in luminous jackets will start throwing around their weight to prevent our getting around. Seldom will “No pasaran!” have been so misused, abused and, perhaps, refused.

TfL drawing Olympics traffic advisory drawing (section)
Above: section of TfL drawing. Top: closed!

The emailed advice included: “I am given to understand from Hackney council that they [sic] will be using road signs to…”

“Given to understand from…?” How in the name of Bolloxspeak can any reliance be put on such a vague statement?

A drawing appeared (shown here), stating that traffic in Hackney will be affected during the Games. No, give over! Really?

And that was it. No details. But later in the day, details did appear below the drawing. Lots of them. Far too lots. Had someone in the Games Local Engagement Team just woken up and posted the info?

There was a glimmer of light, a name to contact, possibly: the email was signed “Katie”.

Katie? How many PR women in London are called Katie (perm your own spelling)? Imagine phoning a publicity office to ask for “Katie”. You may as well ask for Emma, or Jane, or Hannah. You get the point: Katie doesn’t want you to contact her: that’s why she did not give her surname.

And we haven’t even discussed the Zil — sorry, “Games” — lanes.

* TfL will set up a stand at Hackney Town Hall square, Mare St, Lon E8 1EA, on Fri 13 July 2012 noon-6pm to explain the rules of the compulsory commuter race, or, as “Katie” puts it, to answer “specific” questions “around” (when did we stop saying “about?”) travel disruption.

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