Thursday, 4 August 2011

The Sewer and the Olympics

I saw a report yesterday about the Thames Tideway Scheme, the controversial plan to run a rainwater sewer from Hammersmith to Beckton/Crossness. Apparently  Chicago has one of these that works quite well there. However, their experience has led them to suggest that a similar system may not be suited to London and many experts here, as well as several of the councils affected by this hugely expensive scheme, seem to agree.

The really interesting thing is that in addition to the sewer, Chicago is developing an innovative system to control rainwater runoff. Known  as the Green Alleys Program, they are using permeable surfaces on a number of side streets and in the parking lane of some larger streets, allowing rainwater to drain directly into the earth rather than being channeled into the sewers (the direct opposite of our obsession with paving over our front gardens). The scheme is in its early stages but shows great promise and is being extended. It has also been used on parking lots and at least one school has a graded parking lot that drains into a kind of pond/bog garden which ultimately has the same effect. This, and a whole range of other schemes, aim to make Chicago the Greenest City in America. We could do far worse than steal a few of these ideas for our own use!

I don't like paved over front gardens for all kinds of reasons but there are existing systems in use here that utilise a kind of concrete honeycomb with grass growing in the cells of the comb so that you have a hard standing that is barely visible AND drains water away............mind you, you still can't have a garden wall or a decent bit of privet!

.......and another thing. One year from yesterday will be the busiest day at the Olympics and nerves are starting fray with regards to the transport system. We, Londoners that is, are apparently being advised to change our travel arrangements, take our holidays, or even to work from home to relieve the pressure on the buses and the tube. These people clearly do not live in London but surely inhabit the homeland of the mysterious Cloud Cuckoo. Despite the wonders of the internet and the mobile phone most people are still tied to a work place and a job that is site specific and some of those people are involved in jobs which, if they were to take the current advice, could have an adverse affect on the visitors experience of the Capital.
.........bugger it's too late now to dump the whole lot into the laps of the Parisians, can't we just sell it to a corrupt Russian oligarch to use for his own dubious ends.

Enough for now, maybe I'm just grumpy because I've been too hot and uncomfortable for the last couple of days, and I'm tired because sleeping hasn't been easy. We are, after all a temperate, if not a temperant, society..........but good news........the weather is getting worse hoorah!

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