Wednesday 14 September 2011

Westfield Stratford

The Grand Opening was yesterday. I could tell since the traffic was backed up to the Bow Flyover, with a solid three lanes of traffic until the pedestrian crossing at the Gyratory which was having to be manned by a team of police to control the huge numbers crossing. After this there were traffic queues up Angel Lane, which is one of the entrances to the 6000 space car park.

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?


  1. I got down there around 8:30am. Fairly quiet.

    The website has no information about location of cycle stands. I used the ones outside new station entrance.

    The signs off Leyton Road (A112) said no pedestrian or cycle access but they waved us through. No idea how they expect us lot on that side to get to Westfield!

    I also found the cycling page for "How To Get There" on their site woefully inadequate. No directions for access, no mention that the stands are in Car Park A (apparently)

    It makes me grumpy too!

  2. I could find no sign of 1180 cycle stands - None of the staff had a clue either - had to ask 5 of them before getting a clear answer. Oh, don't dare try entering by following the cars from the A12 through the Olympic Site. 4 security guards jumped me at the gate - no pededrians...? If you're coming in from National Cycle Route #1 you have to go all the way around Leyton.

  3. I couldn't find any evidence of 1000 cycle stands either. Presumably they are hiding them well and not advertising them for a reason...

    There are some behind the station, but only around 8 or so. So another 1172 to find....