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Millenium Dome is Car free!

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  • Mike Lacey
    Interesting that the new (and struggling) millenium dome in London is officially a no-car zone. http://www.dome2000.co.uk/static/flash/index.htm Having
    Message 1 of 2 , Oct 5, 2000
      Interesting that the new (and struggling) millenium dome in London is
      officially a "no-car" zone.


      Having visited recently I can testify that the transit access is
      state-of-the-art particularly the brand spanking new Jubilee line
      which ahs its own dedicated station for the Dome. (the Dome itself is
      really quite intersting too)

      Now I wonder if folks are going to start attributing the below-
      expactation attendance to the lack of car access. That would truly be
      a travesty since it is probaly about the easiest places to get to in

    • Simon Baddeley
      I visited the Dome on Thursday. I was able to buy a £27 Chiltern Rail return ticket from New Street to N.Greenwich (via Marylebone) from Birmingham and leave
      Message 2 of 2 , Oct 7, 2000
        I visited the Dome on Thursday. I was able to buy a £27 Chiltern Rail return
        ticket from New Street to N.Greenwich (via Marylebone) from Birmingham and
        leave the Midlands at 10.30, to arrive in the Dome at about 2.00. I found
        the tube easy - taking my Brompton - and I returned to Marylebone later in
        the day using the unfinished riverside path from the Dome which afforded
        some great views of the place as I worked my way up back up river towards
        Greenwich and beyond.

        I was for obvious reasons primed to be jaundiced about the experience and
        admit that at no point did I go "wow", which probably isn't good enough for
        £300,000,000 (or whatever) but on the other hand I enjoyed myself and in a
        number of cases was intrigued (and I had a delicious salmon and cream cheese
        bagel). I also recall that my Mum took me to the Festival of Britain and
        that at times I wept with boredom but I liked the Skylon and the Dome of
        Discovery and then we went to Battersea Pleasure Gardens and the ice cream
        was just wonderful.

        The "Journey" exhibit at the Dome sponsored by Ford was much less irritating
        than I expected. It did not seem to me to apologise for the car, admitted
        there was a crisis, invited people to enter a room to think what should be
        done, "cos we can't go on like this", and then showed a room full of
        bicycles and scooters and roller blades, another space for rail as well as
        "pollution free" 100% recyclable cars of the future jam packed with
        telematics to which you will hand over control of the driving and a variety
        of different flying machines (none of them a super jumbo) and a an
        opportunity to vote on scenarios for 2025 (or was it further ahead)
        comparing local living, global community and so on. There was also a
        reference to the option of banning cars from cities in the space devoted to
        urban traffic regulation and monitoring. Of course there was nothing about
        the murderous record of the car's or road freighter's impact on lives and
        community but nor was there a celebration of the car's contribution to
        personal freedom (the usual defence) - but the acknowledgement was there
        that things had to change. I got the impression that the people who designed
        this were aware of the potential frowns and pursed lips of people like me
        and so they had chosen their images and sounds and words with some tact. I
        noted that all the voting monitors (you could get a card and vote on various
        transport options and predictions) were ones I favoured even though some
        questions were impossible. (e.g.do you think the car will become less
        polluting? of course I said "No" but I would have liked to say "Yes -
        because no-one will need the things."

        On the dome again. I especially didn't like the fact that you couldn't walk
        right round it's outside. The devil in these things is so often in the
        detail that one aeshetic totalitarian in charge (which perhaps ought to have
        happened) can sometimes force everything into rightness or deliver total
        (rather than the current slow one) ruination. Birmingham airport is
        disability friendly (I'm told) unlike any other airport becasue it's manager
        was disabled. I was sad that there was no moment when you looked up and saw
        the whole great roof of the dome in full scale, becasue there were so many
        bits and pieces between the spectattor and the roof. I was made morose by
        the mutiplicity of corporate logos but to deplore that is to deny that for
        the last 25 years we have been living in a world where the tax paying
        classes don't want to pay for a public realm or for public projects and
        where their children (and grown-ups) already semand the right to parade the
        world with advertisng on them. There are little vulgar details that could
        easily have been dealt with by a genius (you get my point). In a pluralistic
        highly individuated age that seeks to be inclusive I'm not sure what would
        have pleased enough people to make this thing work and I reckon the
        consequences of putting the brake on this project in mid '99 would have been
        even more serious than the present ones.

        An abiding memory of the place will be the superb view back along the Thames
        in the evening light from the half finished cycle path where I stood amid
        temporary fencing, graffiti covered corrugated iron next to a builder's
        yard. I enjoyed picking my way back along the bank like this to see if there
        was a way through - but it's sad it wasn't ready for the year 2000 and still
        looks like there's a way to go and the women I asked about it in the Tourist
        information booth on the Dome Site knew nothing about getting from the Dome
        into central London by bicycle - though at least she didn't suggest the
        Dartford Tunnel. I had pleasure tho' in seeing the cycle park and in leaving
        my Brompton in the left luggage - with admiring remarks from the staff

        I shall probably go again not least for the pleasure of gently questioning
        some of the staff I met there about the place and because I still want to
        see some other exhibits. In the meantime I shall look forward to the Tate
        Modern or "London Carfree Day" on 22 Sept 2001 when Ken has had a greater
        chance to get his teeth into the idea on days that fall two years in a row
        on weekends - but that political task will be mammoth on the same scale as
        getting rid of Milosevic. These folk will cling like limpets to their motors
        and even when they are in a dwindling minority on the subject of one carfree
        day a year and limited car free areas will be powerful and - in the
        desperation of their dependency - vicious in rhetoric and action in defence
        of their right to dominate our streets.


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