diamond geezer

 Thursday, July 21, 2011

Cycle Superhighway 2: Bow - Aldgate

Cycle Superhighway 2 isn't a joined-up blue line. It doesn't extend the full 1km length of Bow Road, but breaks in several places. At most road junctions, no problem, the blue line's been painted straight across. But reach a bus stop, or a parking space, or a pedestrian crossing, and you're briefly on your own. Or not so briefly...

iii) CS2: Bow Church station bus stop - eastbound
Who'd have guessed that the true enemy of the Superhighway cyclist isn't the car, it's the bus. And in particular, the bus stop. As soon as CS2 reaches a bus stop it stops, pauses, then picks up again on the opposite side as if nothing had happened. That's because bus stops are sometimes full of buses, and riding a bike through a bus isn't recommended. Instead, the "men who paint the blue stripe on the road" have an alternative means of alert. They iron a big rectangular stencil onto the road alongside the bus stop as a warning to drivers that there might be cyclists overtaking ahead. These big blue 'CS2's indicate the existence of a Cycle Superfuzzyway - a stretch of road where quite frankly there could be bikes anywhere. As a cyclist, you really don't want to meet a bus in a bus stop, because you're going to be forced to pull out to ride around it. Check behind you, make sure no car is closing fast, and filter yourself into the outer lane of traffic. But even a bus stop without a bus isn't as safe as you might think. There's never a blue strip painted through a bus stop, remember, so you're on your own if you stick close to the kerb. Thank goodness bus stops are short, eh?

Except on Bow Road the bus stops aren't short. Seven years ago they were extended to accommodate bendy buses, a really quite dramatic increase in size. Each bus stop became long enough for at least two bendies to arrive simultaneously which, when they're each 18 metres long, makes for a whacking great length. Here's the bus stop opposite Bow Road station, for example [photo]. I didn't have a tape measure with me so I paced it out, and I counted 55 paces end to end. Which means the Cycle Superhighway stops for 50m or so, purely to give a queue of bendy buses somewhere to stop. Except, as you'll remember, Bow Road doesn't have bendy buses any more. Boris removed them in late June to be replaced by much shorter double deckers. But when Bow Road was resurfaced at great expense back in May, in readiness for CS2, workmen insisted on re-laying double-bendy-sized bus stops. They should have shrunk them, in readiness for the forthcoming years of normal double decker traffic. But instead they stuck with supersize, needed for a few weeks only, and left us with an unnecessary anachronism. And this matters because CS2 has bus-stop-sized holes, and these bus-stop sized holes are at least twice as long as they need to be. Good luck cyclists, you're on your own. Verdict? Fail.

iv) CS2: Bow Road (near Payne Road) - parking space
The blue Superhighway is also a red route. Vehicles aren't permitted to pull over, let alone park, anywhere along the entire road from Aldgate to Bow. That's good news if you're a cyclist, because parked cars are one of the worst everyday obstacles to have to negotiate around. Drivers aren't completely banished, because there are a few off-road parking bays along Bow Road if you know where to look. There's a new one by St Clements Hospital and another outside the Bow Bells pub, specially laid during CS2 works to provide additional hardstanding. And then there are the on-road parking slots, delimited by dotted red lines, where parking is permitted for a limited period. That's 10am to 4pm, for no more than 20 minutes, or as long as you like on a Sunday. And the bad news is that Cycle Superhighways pass straight through these parking spaces. There you are hurtling along the bike-only blue strip, and the blue strip suddenly disappears under a parked car [photo]. If this were a bus stop the blue line would pause and there'd be a warning stencil in another lane. But parking spaces, for some reason, are treated differently. Beware of four-wheeled blockages outside the betting shop, and the taxicab firm, and the corner shop, and the church... as your zigzag ride along Bow Road continues. Verdict? Fail.

v) CS2: Coborn Road toucan crossing

You know what a toucan crossing is - like a pelican crossing but jointly for pedestrians and cyclists. As part of the funded works for CS2, one of Bow Road's many pelican crossings has been converted to a toucan. But I cannot for the life of me work out why this particular pelican has been selected. I can imagine a cyclist might want to wheel their bike across the busy street elsewhere, say at the bottom of Fairfield Road. But why it might be necessary outside the Tesco Express near Coborn Road, heaven only knows. And yet workmen have gone to ridiculous lengths to install additional features for the benefit of road-crossing bikes, which surely no sensible adult would ever use [photo]. Just before the toucan crossing, heading west, a brief blue on-ramp has been laid allowing cyclists to ride up onto the pavement. Ten metres later they're expected to wait and cross at the crossing, which is in two single-carriageway halves. And then they're invited to ride along the pavement and down the off-ramp on the other side... back in the same direction from which they came! Don't try biking the toucan eastbound, however - there may be an off-ramp but there isn't an on. And don't think of riding any further on the pavement. A tiny "no cycling" sign has been implanted on a bollard, backed with a "shared pavement for pedestrians and bikes" sign on the reverse. What? Why? How? Any cyclist who needs to cross Bow Road on a bike is surely going to pull into the central reservation and turn right, not hike tortuously across a special set of lights. It's as if some transport manager in an ivory tower has devised a system for toucan-crossing cyclists, without considering that nobody on the ground will understand it, let alone adhere to it. Construction of this folly took 32 days. Verdict? Pointless.

(more tomorrow) (more yesterday)

<< click for Newer posts

click for Older Posts >>

click to return to the main page

...or read more in my monthly archives
Jan16  Feb16  Mar16  Apr16  May16  Jun16  Jul16  Aug16  Sep16  Oct16
Jan15  Feb15  Mar15  Apr15  May15  Jun15  Jul15  Aug15  Sep15  Oct15  Nov15  Dec15
Jan14  Feb14  Mar14  Apr14  May14  Jun14  Jul14  Aug14  Sep14  Oct14  Nov14  Dec14
Jan13  Feb13  Mar13  Apr13  May13  Jun13  Jul13  Aug13  Sep13  Oct13  Nov13  Dec13
Jan12  Feb12  Mar12  Apr12  May12  Jun12  Jul12  Aug12  Sep12  Oct12  Nov12  Dec12
Jan11  Feb11  Mar11  Apr11  May11  Jun11  Jul11  Aug11  Sep11  Oct11  Nov11  Dec11
Jan10  Feb10  Mar10  Apr10  May10  Jun10  Jul10  Aug10  Sep10  Oct10  Nov10  Dec10 
Jan09  Feb09  Mar09  Apr09  May09  Jun09  Jul09  Aug09  Sep09  Oct09  Nov09  Dec09
Jan08  Feb08  Mar08  Apr08  May08  Jun08  Jul08  Aug08  Sep08  Oct08  Nov08  Dec08
Jan07  Feb07  Mar07  Apr07  May07  Jun07  Jul07  Aug07  Sep07  Oct07  Nov07  Dec07
Jan06  Feb06  Mar06  Apr06  May06  Jun06  Jul06  Aug06  Sep06  Oct06  Nov06  Dec06
Jan05  Feb05  Mar05  Apr05  May05  Jun05  Jul05  Aug05  Sep05  Oct05  Nov05  Dec05
Jan04  Feb04  Mar04  Apr04  May04  Jun04  Jul04  Aug04  Sep04  Oct04  Nov04  Dec04
Jan03  Feb03  Mar03  Apr03  May03  Jun03  Jul03  Aug03  Sep03  Oct03  Nov03  Dec03
 Jan02  Feb02  Mar02  Apr02  May02  Jun02  Jul02 Aug02  Sep02  Oct02  Nov02  Dec02 

eXTReMe Tracker
jack of diamonds
life viewed from london e3

email    twitter    G+

my flickr photostream

What's on this weekend?
Wed 19th - Sun 23rd October
Bloomsbury Festival
It's free to visit the Foundling Museum this weekend.

twenty blogs
ian visits
blue witch
city metric
the great wen
edith's streets
spitalfields life
in the aquarium
round the island
wanstead meteo
london museums
christopher fowler
ruth's coastal walk
london reconnections
dirty modern scoundrel

quick reference features
Things to do in Outer London
The DG Tour of Britain
Comment Value Hierarchy

read the archive
Oct16  Sep16
Aug16  Jul16  Jun16  May16
Apr16  Mar16  Feb16  Jan16
Dec15  Nov15  Oct15  Sep15
Aug15  Jul15  Jun15  May15
Apr15  Mar15  Feb15  Jan15
Dec14  Nov14  Oct14  Sep14
Aug14  Jul14  Jun14  May14
Apr14  Mar14  Feb14  Jan14
Dec13  Nov13  Oct13  Sep13
Aug13  Jul13  Jun13  May13
Apr13  Mar13  Feb13  Jan13
Dec12  Nov12  Oct12  Sep12
Aug12  Jul12  Jun12  May12
Apr12  Mar12  Feb12  Jan12
Dec11  Nov11  Oct11  Sep11
Aug11  Jul11  Jun11  May11
Apr11  Mar11  Feb11  Jan11
Dec10  Nov10  Oct10  Sep10
Aug10  Jul10  Jun10  May10
Apr10  Mar10  Feb10  Jan10
Dec09  Nov09  Oct09  Sep09
Aug09  Jul09  Jun09  May09
Apr09  Mar09  Feb09  Jan09
Dec08  Nov08  Oct08  Sep08
Aug08  Jul08  Jun08  May08
Apr08  Mar08  Feb08  Jan08
Dec07  Nov07  Oct07  Sep07
Aug07  Jul07  Jun07  May07
Apr07  Mar07  Feb07  Jan07
Dec06  Nov06  Oct06  Sep06
Aug06  Jul06  Jun06  May06
Apr06  Mar06  Feb06  Jan06
Dec05  Nov05  Oct05  Sep05
Aug05  Jul05  Jun05  May05
Apr05  Mar05  Feb05  Jan05
Dec04  Nov04  Oct04  Sep04
Aug04  Jul04  Jun04  May04
Apr04  Mar04  Feb04  Jan04
Dec03  Nov03  Oct03  Sep03
Aug03  Jul03  Jun03  May03
Apr03  Mar03  Feb03  Jan03
Dec02  Nov02  Oct02  Sep02
back to main page

diamond geezer 2015 index
diamond geezer 2014 index
diamond geezer 2013 index
diamond geezer 2012 index
diamond geezer 2011 index
diamond geezer 2010 index
diamond geezer 2009 index
diamond geezer 2008 index
diamond geezer 2007 index
diamond geezer 2006 index
diamond geezer 2005 index
diamond geezer 2004 index
diamond geezer 2003 index
diamond geezer 2002 index

my special London features
a-z of london museums
E3 - local history month
greenwich meridian (N)
greenwich meridian (S)
the real eastenders
london's lost rivers
olympic park 2007
great british roads
oranges & lemons
random boroughs
bow road station
high street 2012
river westbourne
trafalgar square
capital numbers
east london line
lea valley walk
olympics 2005
regent's canal
square routes
silver jubilee
unlost rivers
cube routes
capital ring
river fleet

ten of my favourite posts
the seven ages of blog
my new Z470xi mobile
five equations of blog
the dome of doom
chemical attraction
quality & risk
london 2102
single life
april fool

ten sets of lovely photos
my "most interesting" photos
london 2012 olympic zone
harris and the hebrides
betjeman's metro-land
marking the meridian
tracing the river fleet
london's lost rivers
inside the gherkin
seven sisters

just surfed in?
here's where to find...
diamond geezers
flash mob #1  #2  #3  #4
ben schott's miscellany
london underground
watch with mother
cigarette warnings
digital time delay
wheelie suitcases
war of the worlds
transit of venus
top of the pops
old buckenham
ladybird books
acorn antiques
digital watches
outer hebrides
olympics 2012
school dinners
pet shop boys
west wycombe
bletchley park
george orwell
big breakfast
clapton pond
san francisco
children's tv
east enders
trunk roads
little britain
credit cards
jury service
big brother
jubilee line
number 1s
titan arum
doctor who
blue peter
peter pan
feng shui
leap year
bbc three
vision on
ID cards