London 2012 Olympics the first to be "car-free"

Eight million people are expected at the London 2012 Olympics but their cars are not invited. The 2012 games will be car free, a first for the Olympics, with the only options for transport between the venues 1) walking, 2) biking or 3) public transport. The "car exclusion zones" include parts of London, Birmingham, Manchester, Newcastle, Glasgow, Cardiff, and Weymouth and Portland in Dorset.

With 800,000 people expected to converge on venues in a day, one organizer described it as the "country's largest peacetime logistical operation." The organizers expect the ban on cars to extend to other events in the future. Hugh Sumner, the ODA transport director, said "We want to leave both a hard legacy in terms of infrastructure and a living legacy in the way people think about transport and about how they travel to sports and cultural events."

The organizers don't even want to encourage driving to edge of the car free zones. Plans were scrapped for two park-and-ride sites on the M25 and M11. Even the handicapped will only be allowed a limited number of parking spots outside of the car exclusion zones. Hugh says "We want to accelerate the shift to public transport and cycling that we have seen in London in recent years. ... We will make it very plain to people that there isn't going to be parking."

The organizers are giving detailed information on how to get to the events with the ticket order and updated information will be sent to cell phones. Organizers will help in getting to the games car free by giving out all-zones travel card and discounted, flat-rate rail tickets. Don't feel too bad for the people that decide to brave the first car free Olympics. The gap between the trains at the London 2012 Olympics will be 13.87 seconds. For two months around the games, 80,000 people in the "Olympic Family" (athletes, officials and media), get their own lane, called "Zil Lanes" on major routes in London.

[Source: The Times]

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