Motoring, Sport|

Games Lanes Enforced for Paralympics

Games LanesThe first Games Lanes have come into force for the Paralympic Games – on the M4 between junctions three and two. This comes as competitors begin arriving in large numbers at Heathrow Airport. The first of these lanes leads traffic from Heathrow to central London, and they will be in operation every day of the Paralympics between 5am and 10pm as needed. Regular traffic will be able to use the lanes any time outside of this period.

This M4 lane, however, is only part of the Games Lanes operation. There will be a total of 8.7 miles of special lanes enforced from August 29 to September 9 as part of the Paralympic Route Network (PRN). However, this network is much shorter than the 109 miles laid out for the Olympic Route Network (ORN).

The PRN will be focused around the City of London, as this is where the International Paralympic Committee and media from around the world will be based. It will also be focused on the venues for the Games in east London. The number of people expected to travel to the Olympic Park on most days will be about the same as during the Olympics – as many as 215,000.

Boris Johnson, the mayor of London, says that the Paralympic Games are coming together to be the best ever as the city continues buzzing with excitement about the Olympics. Tickets for the Paralympics are selling like crazy, he noted. The way Londoners changed how they travelled – getting to work a little early or late to avoid congestion – was one of the things that made the Olympics such a great success, and he thanks them all for that. Johnson also asks that everyone plans ahead again, so they can enjoy the events in London during the Paralympics and keep the city moving.

Peter Hendy, the commissioner of Transport for London (TfL), says they already know the Paralympic Games will have the most spectators ever, and this is great. With the new school year starting in the second week and bigger groups expected to travel together on public transport, they expect some new and unique challenges with these Games. However, they are confident transport will cope well as it did during the Olympics, he added – if Londoners and businesses continue planning ahead and changing how or when they travel using the information and tools TfL has made available.

Meanwhile, British Airways will be flying the Paralympic Games teams, which are coming from 25 countries. This will include ParalympicsGB, who is believed to be arriving next week at Heathrow Airport from their training camps overseas. The carrier is also going to be transporting about 300 wheelchairs and sporting equipment – including hand cycles, tandem bikes, bike boxes, physiotherapist cases, bows and arrows, firearms and other weapons bags.

Andy Lord, the operations director for British Airways, says that they have been planning and preparing a huge operation since the 2008 Beijing Games. This is when they transported Team GB and ParalympicsGB home on a gold nose plane. It’s a privilege to carry thousands of athletes, coaches and sporting equipment to London for the Paralympics, he added, which follows the great service they provided for the Olympics.

The Paralympic Games will have a closing ceremony on September 9, which will include marathon events throughout central London. Then on September 10, Team GB and ParalympicsGB will be honoured with a parade that will start at Mansion House in the capital and finish in central London.

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