Monday, July 30, 2012
1. Invented here: the amazing Olympic cauldron
You could be forgiven for thinking that this rather gloomy gateway on Gray’s Inn Road is a tradesmen’s entrance for the King’s Cross Travelodge next door, but look closely at the buzzer and you will see that it’s the home of Heatherwick studio, creators of the stunning olympic cauldron.
2. Free lollies and free water
East Midlands Trains are giving away free strawberry lollies to arriving passengers at St Pancras, while the Salvation Army have people scattered about the area handing out free bottled water, although this poor chap had just tipped over his trolley.
3. Art and installations
Have some fun making shapes with Songboard, brought to you by students from nearby Central Saint Martins or head up the steps in front of St Pancras to look at Tripes by Alexander Calder, 1898–1976. (But why all the fencing?!)
4. Fun and games
The upright piano inside St Pancras proved so popular that they added another and have extended their time here. For the more energetic, there are two ping pong tables in the space between the stations.
This is a follow-up to our Olympic travel page.
The verdict: so far so good, mostly
Although the biggest test - the start of the athletics - is still to come, the two main fears of huge queues for the Javelin trains and of commuters waiting 30 minutes to get on the tube have proved unfounded. In fact people have been joking on Twitter about “travel chaos”:
There are, however, two things that need sorting:
Many of the signs at St Pancras for the Javelin trains point the wrong way
- This Javelin sign leads to the taxi rank on Midland Road
When these signs (which are mostly in the “Arcade” shopping area) first appeared, I gave them the benefit of the doubt and thought they were for a queuing system that had yet to be put in place. But the queuing system is elsewhere - on Pancras Road and inside near the escalators for the Javelin platforms.
- Queuing pens on Pancras Road, not where a lot of signs point to
A few signs are actually less wrong than they look because of an alternative route (which may prove quite useful if things do get busy) to the platforms accessed from near The Betjeman Arms’ indoor terrace on the station’s upper level.
- This sign looks wrong…
- …but leads to a sneaky back route to Javelin trains from upper level
However, many signs are still wrong, and others have had their arrows covered up, which is worse than useless.
- Signs with covered-up arrows are no help!
On the plus side, there are loads of extra staff around to help, so if you get confused the best advice is to ask.
But seeing as the games have still got nearly two weeks to run and then there are the paralympics, St Pancras and Southeastern please can you sort these signs out and stop confusing our visitors!
There are traffic jams being cause by road restrictions that shouldn’t be there
The roads have not fared as well as the railways, with jams on the Euston Road twice over the weekend and serious gridlock for a while on Monday morning. Congestion isn’t unusual in King’s Cross, but the frustrating thing is that the roads were clear in all directions outside our area, so the congestion shouldn’t have happened.
- GAOTG map for 30th July showing no restrictions in King’s Cross
The problem seems to have been caused by two mistakes:
1. Signs incorrectly designating Euston Road bus lanes as Games Lanes.
This is only meant to happen between Euston and King’s Cross on 7 days during the games (due to road events), but signs have been displayed permanently since Friday, although someone armed with spraypaint has noticed the problem and taken matters into their own hands:
- Spray-painted Olympic rings
Despite the inclusion of the word “taxis” on the sign, the situation has understandably confused black cabs, many of whom I saw sitting in traffic next to empty lanes this morning.
- Cabbies confused about which lanes they’re allowed to use
2. No left-turn signs from Euston Road into Upper Woburn Place.
Again this restriction has been in place all the time but on the GAOTG website is only shown on road event days.
- No left turn from Euston Road (westbound) into Upper Woburn Place
It is from this junction that westbound traffic has been backing up to King’s Cross and causing the jams.
I have tweeted @GAOTG twice about these issues and not had a reply. King’s Cross traffic needs to run as smoothly as possible, and not have extra and unnecessary restrictions applied when traffic elsewhere is running smoothly.
Tweet a link to this page
Thursday, July 26, 2012
There was a big crowd and great community spirit as the torch changed hands outside the London Canal Museum in New Wharf Road.
A group of young singers and dancers from Sadlers Wells theatre entertained the crowd and welcomed the torch.