If it feels like the upgrade of Cycle Superhighway 2 has been going on for ages, that's because it has. The first roadworks kicked off twelve months ago, indeed this road sign by the Bow Roundabout is about to enter chronologically ambiguous territory.
And it's now six months since TfL sent me (and hundreds of other local residents) a letter outlining what the imminent restructure of Bow Road would involve. "The following changes are expected to apply between July 2015 and January 2016", they said. It's now February, and Bow Road still looks like a building site for most of its length, with plastic barriers and construction teams in abundance. The intended completion date is now March, so there should be plenty of time to transform the street into a model Cycle Superhighway. But blimey there's still a heck of a lot of work to be done, and until then the single lane traffic and slow-moving vehicles remain.
As a reality check, here's what TfL predicted would happen to Bow Road's six bus stops in their letter in July, along with what's actually happened. Spoiler: All the predictions were wrong. Very wrong.
Bus stops (eastbound)
• Bus stop Y (Bow Road Station) will be temporarily suspended from early December for around six weeks No, it hasn't closed yet. It's already February, but this is one of two bus stops yet to be affected by significant rebuilding work.
• Bus stop A (Bow Church Station) will be temporarily suspended from mid-September for around six weeks Work eventually started not in September but at the beginning of January! It's still not finished, but the basics of the new bus stop bypass are all in place and, to their credit, the contractors got the bus stop reopened in only three weeks.
• Bus stop E (Bow Church) will be relocated 50m east and combined with bus stop G (Bow Church) permanently from late October You already know all about this one. The transformation began in August with the closure of existing stop G, and concluded in mid-October with its reopening as bus stop M. But even though that was more than three months ago, the bus stop bypass still isn't open to cyclists. It looks finished, now the lamppost's been removed, but a sandbagged barrier prevents cyclists from taking the safer route behind the island. The next tiny bit of CS2 isn't officially upgraded yet, which I assume is the reason for this petty delay, but any cyclist would be in less peril on the not-quite perfect rear alignment than having to cycle past stopped buses in busy traffic.
• Bus stop M (Bow Flyover) will be closed permanently from from late December No, it was actually closed permanently from early October. This closure ought to have made cycling onto the Bow Roundabout much safer, but alas not because the empty space is currently being used by bus drivers on route 205 to park up between journeys. Never underestimate how dangerous the construction phase of a segregated cycle lane can be for the cyclists who will later benefit from it.
Bus stops (westbound)
• Bus stops J, K and L (Bow Church) will be temporarily suspended from late October for around three weeks
Rebuilding work began in November and is now pretty much complete, with three new bus stops (and two shelters) strung out along a very long bus stop bypass. Impressively, by sequencing the construction work carefully, at no point did the bus stop have to close. Unimpressively the cycle lane still isn't open yet. A depressingly familiar tale.
• Bus stop B (Bow Church Station) will be temporarily suspended from early November for around three weeks No, not yet. Three months on from the intended start date no major work has begun, and the bus stop has not been suspended.
• Bus stop Z (Bow Road station) will be temporarily suspended from late October for around three weeks From late October? No, this bus stop closed only a couple of weeks back, three months behind schedule, and is currently very barriered and very dug up. As usual the only guidance to displaced bus passengers is a tiny sentence on a notice in a barely-legible location advising people to use the stop before or the stop after - the default advice and none too helpful. But then that's the kind of lax shoddiness we've come to expect during this 58-week upgrade. The end result had better be worth it.