Disabled Access to the London Olympics
I am not disabled, although it is probably true to say, that for a time after my stroke, whilst I was in hospital in Hong Kong, I needed to be moved everywhere in a wheel-chair. I do suspect though that if I had been in a top hospital in the UK, like Addenbrookes from the start, they’d have dispensed with one pretty quickly. It’s not to save costs, but there is thinking from the Norwegians, that it is better to get people up and on the move sooner rather than later after a stroke.
But I do think I appreciate the problems of people with disabilities a bit better than I used to. So when Liz put a comment on the post about the London Aquatic Centre, I thought I’d investigate a bit.
I started by typing the title of this post into Google. By the time you try it, you might get better information than I did. The only thing of value was an old political statement from Boris, saying that the access will be the best. He would say that wouldn’t he!
There was also quite a few paid for Google entries trying to sell disabled-friendly accomodation in London for the Olympics.
On the other hand, when I applied for my tickets, I could have applied for wheelchair friendly seats, if I had wanted to. So at least the ticket ballot is disabled friendly. I suspect too, that the venues will have an appropriate number of seats for the disabled, as we have lot of experience of building stadia with them in mind.
Getting to the Olympic Park probably falls into two time periods; before the Olympic Park is completed and after it’s opened.
I’ll deal with the first one now, as why shouldn’t those with limited mobility want to go and view the construction site, as I have in the last couple of weeks? After all lying my hospital bed in Hong Kong, being able to watch the Olympics on television was a hope, rather than something for which my odds of seeing for real,are only a little bit less than say Lord Coe’s.
The Greenway, that I used to access the viewing site is absolutely flat and I think in my current state I could push an average man in a wheelchair from the station at Hackney Wick to the Olympic Park. As with all new London Overground and Docklands Light Railway stations, Hackney Wick has full wheelchair access using lifts. At a weekend, there is quite a bit of free parking in the Victoria Park area, which is not far from the start of the Greenway.
The ViewTube has pretty good disabled access, so you could get a good coffee and a snack.
The problem would come in getting off and on the Greenway at the Pudding Mill Lane end. It is still very much a construction site and although the DLR station has a lift, it might not be easy to negotiate your way through.
Another word of warning is that the best views of the site are at the other end of the Olympic Park to Stratford station.
So don’t go there!
Obviously, once the Olympic Park and the Eastfield Shopping Centre are open, there shouldn’t be too much of a problem.