Transport for London and the International Association of Athletics Federations decided to have a little game with Tower Hamlets today as the roads residents were told would be closed for a marathon event were in fact open.
In doing so Transport for London (TfL) and the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) gave the worst of both worlds to communities like Wapping – significant disruption to residents and businesses and no extra visitors or any event to look at by way of compensation.
However some did make the most of a car free Wapping.
Maybe the dancers were the TfL and IAAF planners who had taken the day off?
“The Highway has effectively been open, all day, in both directions – contrary to the advice in the IAAF’s leaflet and TFL’s website,” said local resident Cathryn Rees who also provided Love Wapping with photographs.
Some Wapping residents had previously emailed Unmesh Desai, GLA Assembly Member for East London. about the closures.
He replied that he understood that residents were not given enough warning about the closure and would raise this point with TfL and ask them to review this for next year.
Mr Desai also said that he had also highlighted residents’ concerns that the closures have been in place for three consecutive weekends.
“If you drive up to the barrier and say you live in Wapping, or are going to Screwfix or Waitrose – they move the cones to let you through. They have been told to give residents access, and agreed that the information given out wasn’t clear.”
No clue whatsoever
where Wapping is
“I am really beginning to doubt that anyone in the relevant departments has a clue where Wapping or The Highway is, or they appreciate that anyone lives or works or runs a business here. I feel sorry for anyone who got up at dawn or re-planned their day for the road closures – they needn’t have,” says Cathryn.
Today’s farce is conclusive proof that no-one in authority has any interest in the views or needs of residents in Wapping, Shadwell or anywhere else in Tower Hamlets.
To organisations like TfL and the IAAF Tower Hamlets is just a bunch of roads on a map that can be closed or opened or in this case both closed and open simultaneously.
Any professional traffic planner – and we exclude TfL from this category – would realise that the effects of a closure of one main road ripples right across the borough and effects thousands of people and businesses.
We know of at least one local businessman in Wapping Lane whose whole routine is disrupted with every lock-in. He cannot get stock in to his shop and the lack of people walking past hits his trade. To add insult to injury he has to get a variety of trains to his business as he cannot use his car – which of course he uses for his stock. His is just one of hundreds of businesses who have to deal with repeated lock-ins.
We all love to see events like the London Marathon coming along the Highway, events like that are what makes London what it is and reinforces our pride in our capital being both open for business and inclusive of all.
But the nonsense of today’s closure / non-closure combined with too many lock-ins too close together takes the shine off events like the London Marathon.
It would be reasonable to believe that an organisation titled ‘Transport for London’ has some basic competence with things like managing transport in London. Seems this is not the case.