Remember our report last year on the Shweeb, the cycling monorail in New Zealand that won $1 million in funding from internet giant Google? Well, Mayor of London Boris Johnson has revealed that he is planning a similar facility for the city’s Olympic Park, to be called 'The Fly.'
Johnson made reference to the proposed development in an interview with East London-based website Docklands 24 that mainly focused on efforts designed to help the capital’s most disadvantaged inhabitants, including the launch of an initiative called Team London that encourages businesses to get involved in community projects and help tackle social inequality.
Talking about the legacy East London would enjoy from the Olympics – we’re now less than 18 months away from the opening ceremony – the mayor said: “I’m determined to go ahead with the maximum benefits from the Olympics.
“Stratford will be a brilliant transport hub and we will push on after 2012 with new links. We hope to put in a cable car before the Olympics – it’s going to be tough but we’re looking at that, a Silvertown crossing and a new tunnel.
“That will be a fantastic improvement for east London and south-east London. Beyond that I want a further crossing in the Gallions Reach area.
“You’re seeing real transformation at Stratford and we’re getting things done,” he added. “We have the Orbit tower and whatever you think about it people working there say it is creating a cluster. Then I have ideas for what I call The Fly” – an aerial monorail running above the Olympic Park.
That this is a recent idea appears evident from the Docklands 24 journalist pointing out that even the mayor’s press officer appears to be taken by surprise at mention of it, and the reporter asks Johnson, “You do remember that Simpson episode where they blew their budget on a pointless Monorail?”
“Don’t worry,” responds the mayor. “It won’t be anything like that.”
Words of reassurance, then, that Johnson doesn’t intend following Mayor Quimby’s lead in blowing the city’s budget on the project, although we can’t help feeling it would be a nice touch to invite Star Trek’s Leonard Nimoy along for the opening, as happened in The Simpsons.
In the meantime, though, here’s a video of the Shweeb in action to give Londoners an idea of what may lie in store for them.
Monorail Cat may need to keep alert to avoid been run over, however.
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.