My road is turning blue. We've all been sent a leaflet.
Barclays Cycle Superhighway 2 (Bow to Aldgate) will be passing close to your door from Summer 2011. We want to let you know what will be happening, and tell you how you can find out more.
The leaflet explains what these Cycle Superhighway thingies are, in case I haven't noticed yet, which I guess most local Bow residents haven't. Exactly the same as was opened last July along a pair of routes from Barking and Merton, but now Boris has two more lined up on the starting grid. Yes, there'll be a garish bank-sponsored blue stripe outside my front door within the next 12 months. Oh joy.
Where will BCS2 go? From Bow Roundabout to Aldgate via: Bow Road, Mile End Road, Whitechapel Road and Whitechapel High Street. To see a map of BCS2, visit tfl.gov.uk/barclayscyclesuperhighways
There's no map anywhere in the leaflet, not even a very simple one. And the map on the TfL website is useless (even assuming anyone manages to work out on which page they've hidden it). It features only a a vaguely sketched line, with absolutely no clues about approximately where the lanes might go and which junctions might be upgraded. For example, I might want to know whether the big blue bikelane is going to cross the Bow Flyover, or whether instead it'll stop dead at a roundabout which intersects with a bike-unfriendly ex-motorway. Presumably this level of basic information will come later.
And I'm sure the original plan was for Cycle Superhighway 2 to run from Ilford to the City, Instead it seems that, for now, only the western half is being laid. The easy half. The A11 from Bow to Aldgate has always been a wide road (there were trams running down it a century ago) so squeezing in a couple of 1.5m cycle carriageways shouldn't be difficult. Indeed much of my local street has a cycle lane already, so presumably the imminent roadworks will concentrate on cheap things like lane markings and redesigned kerb lines. Again, the leaflet has no specifics.
When will this happen? BCS2 will be launched in Summer 2011, from Bow Road to Aldgate High Street. Implementation will start in Autumn 2010.
Hang on a minute. The two previous Cycle Superhighways were definitely called CS3 and CS7. How come this new one has an extra B? Are Barclays even muscling in on the abbreviation now? Is some signwriter is going to come along and write "BCS2" on a bright blue strip of tarmac where previously CS2 would have sufficed? Do we really have to suffer an even more blatant advert for an unloved bank repeated every few yards along three miles of roadway? I don't normally condone spitting, but if I ever see a well-aimed gobbet of phlegm land on a wholly unnecessary additional 'B', I'll probably cheer.
How can I find out more? From Autumn 2010 a section on our webpage will be showing further details of what will be implemented, and where. We will also show details of the timing of any works which may affect local residents and businesses.
But the website has bugger all information at the moment. Absolutely nothing at all. There might be scary things planned outside my front door, but no details are yet available. This is a premature leaflet which encourages residents to seek out clarification which isn't there. It warns them that something will happen, but not what. People will undoubtedly chuck the leaflet away, and then when all the actual Cycle Superhighway stuff goes up on the internet in a month or two's time, none of them will notice.
Are TfL planning to shrink my pavement to make way for a dedicated cycle lane? Are traffic lights going to be rebuilt and rephased to meet the demands of the East End peloton? Will anyone (please) take this opportunity to shrink our giant bendy-sized bus stops to coincide with the doubledeckerisation of route 25 next summer? Most importantly, will there be any public consultations on this project (other than its effect on parking spaces), or is everything going to happen no matter what?
The Mayor of London is committed to securing the health, environmental and congestion benefits of a cycle revolution.
I'm sure he is. I'm sure that more bikes and less cars is the way to go. But he's not yet telling me anything useful about the transformation of the road that I live on. I fear that we EastEnders have been promised HS2012, but all we'll get is BCS2.
What's on this weekend? Spring Into Summer Saturday 30 & Sunday 31 May
40 free guided London walks. Purley Festival Friday 29 - Sunday 5 June
Bunting week, below Croydon. E17 Art Trail Sat 30th May - Sun 14th June
250 arty Walthamstow things.