Lost in Nottingham
The happy visitors to the Olympics praised not only the games and the volunteers, but also the efficient running of London – something that, as a native, I of course love to criticise. It was interesting therefore to hear a Brazilian journalist on the radio talking about Rio, where the games are going next, and reminding us how much bigger the logistics problems are there.
But you don’t have to go as far as South America to find somewhere that is less easy to use than London. I was in Nottingham yesterday, visiting a building relatively close to the city centre and decided, with two colleagues, to walk back to the railway station. It was doubtless our fault, or that of the person who gave us directions, that we went the wrong way.
When we stopped a passer-by he set us on the right path, said it was about 15 minutes walk but suggested we might prefer to take a taxi. We ignored his advice, but soon realised why he had given it. We were skirting the absolute core of the town, but by no means on the periphery. Yet it was almost impossible to cross the road.
There were barriers, and hardly any crossings. Those that did exist all took you in the wrong direction. Cars roared past, there were scarcely any pedestrians, and the buildings, a mishmash of offices, industrial properties and residential, made almost no effort to address the street. I know there are good buildings in Nottingham, but we didn’t pass any of them.
The city was once famous for its lace – but the coarse filigree of its road network is certainly nothing to be proud of.