The sheer numbers of people was astonishing. The policeman who was by me as I waited for the pedestrian crossing to clear reckoned that 1 million people will visit the centre in the coming week.
As a cyclist, having the A11 and gyratory completely backed up instead of the usual traffic moving at more (sometimes considerably more) the speed limit whilst close passing is actually a bit of a relief. Filtering is difficult due to the policy of fitting in as many lanes as possible, but us cyclists were considerably quicker than anything else on the road today. The A12 looked stuffed, and the local roads were pretty congested.
Westfield has provided over 1000 bicycle parking spaces, which actually isn't bad at all. It is then somewhat of a shame that Newham / Tfl / ODA / whoever has seen fit to make cycling as unpleasant as possible on the roads around the centre. Those new cycle stands don't look quite so tempting if one has to negotiate pants-soilingly dangerous multi-lane roads to get to them.
One of the major issues was that the pedestrian crossing between Westfield and the original Stratford centre was simply not fit for this many people. The police had to physically restrain the pedestrians to prevent the weight of people coming up to the crossing pushing those in front into the road. Before Westfield, the crossing was a horrid mess barely able to cope. It just gave up yesterday. As far as I can see there has been no significant work done to improve the pedestrian facilities around the gyratory, and I guess this is the result. Once again walking and cycling have been completely marginalised in favour of traffic flow.
I will leave you with a video I found of the Westfield Apple Store Opening. A brand that appears to have turned buying mass produced electronics consumer goods into a religious experience opening in a shopping centre that seems to have become our new place of Pilgrimage . Sometimes Mr Grumpy wonders if he isn't an alien accidentally trapped on this planet. What happened to the recession?