Central London to become 2012 Games venue

The centre of the capital will be transformed into a Games venue next summer, Transport for London (TfL) and London 2012 have announced.

The Central London Zone – based around Hyde Park, Green Park and St. James’s Park – will host many sporting and cultural events.

Free-to-view cycling and athletics will take place on some of the city’s most famous streets, and Hyde Park will become the venue for a ‘live site’, where people can soak up the atmosphere on giant screens.

Temporary changes to the way traffic and pedestrians move around the city will be made in order to manage the hundreds of thousands of people expected, and ensure things run smoothly for those living and working in London.

This may include restricting turns into roads, suspending parking and loading bays, and changing bus lanes and stops.

Parts of the Olympic Route Network (ORN) – routes that will link competition and other key venues, and cover just one per cent of the city’s roads – will run through the Central London Zone.

However, it will only start operating a couple of days before the Games begin and will end soon afterwards.

The Paralympic Route Network, which will be much smaller than the ORN, will also open a couple of days before the Paralympic Games.

A small number of events that take place on the ORN, such as the cycling road races and marathons, will require additional closures.

On these days an alternative ORN will be in place. The overall effect will be ‘minimal as only one of the events takes place on a weekday’.

Peter Hendy, London’s transport commissioner, said:

“Next summer will be a tremendously exciting time to be in central London.

“Shops, restaurants and other retail outlets in the area are set to benefit from the thousands of extra visitors, while local residents will have the world’s most important and exciting sporting and cultural event on their doorsteps.

“Central London’s transformation into a major sporting venue does mean that some changes need to be made to roads and footways, and the maps and other information we’ve published are the result of the work TfL and Westminster City Council have done to find the safest and most effective way to manage the area during the Games.”

All 68,000 homes and businesses near Games venues – around The Mall, Horse Guards Parade and Hyde Park – are being sent detailed information and maps about the measures that will be in place.

Consultations with affected residents and businesses will start shortly.

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