Unless you ride a bike up the A11, you may not realise that the Cycle Superhighway 2 upgrade is complete. Normally when TfL complete a project of this magnitude they shout about it from the rooftops, but not this time. There's been no press release, no celebratory announcement, merely a single tweet stating that "The last signals... have been switched on for the route to fully open". My best hunch is that the timing was unfortunate, with the last tweaks made as the Mayoral election campaign was drawing to a close, hence purdah prevented any undue celebration. Boris took advantage of his final day in office to crow, quite rightly, about the two Cycle Superhighways he's delivered through central London. By comparison CS2 was a mere trifle, so was overlooked, but the upgrade's webpage confirms that this 14-month mega-project is now over.
So you'll obviously be wanting an update on the status of Bus Stop M. Last time we spoke the bus stop bypass lane was complete but blocked, as it had been for months, by a sandbagged orange plastic barrier. This forced cyclists out into the main flow of traffic on Bow Road, now squished into one lane plus a bus stop rather than two as before. Now at last cyclists can pass safely behind, so long as bus passengers aren't wandering blindly across the blue channel, which they only do most of the time. Interestingly this realigned layout makes it much harder for cyclists to pull out and use the flyover to cross the Bow Roundabout, so several still choose to stay in the road, manoeuvre around any buses and continue up and over as before.
Something exciting has happened in the bus shelter. We've got our Countdown display back, or rather we've got a new one. Ten months ago the Countdown display at neighbouring Bus Stop E was removed, as was the bus stop itself, and it's taken until May for the facility to be returned. A digital box is much more useful here, too. At Bus Stop E it only reported on a bus service pinging regularly out of Bow Bus Garage and another service two stops from its terminus. At Bus Stop M it provides details of six different services plus a nightbus, a genuinely useful function, although the positioning of the bus shelter at the pointy end of the bus stop island means that only those standing inside can read it.
I'm also pleased to report that the lamppost overlooking Bus Stop M has been plugged in, after nine months of relative darkness, and now sheds light on all and sundry during the hours of darkness. It seems likely that both the lamppost and the Countdown display are the result of the electricity supply finally being reconnected hereabouts, which must have been one of the last bits of tidying up TfL's contractors had to do. And with their proper installation a couple of weeks ago I really should have been happy with the final layout of my local bus stop. Except I'm not. I wonder if you've spotted in the photos what's gone wrong?
The bus stop at Bus Stop M has disappeared. Although the pole had been there since last summer with the letter M on top, abruptly it has vanished, seemingly at the same time as the other facilities were updated. I wondered whether a vehicle had perhaps mounted the kerb and destroyed it, but the surface of the pavement is too flat, so it seems as if a proper removal job has been done. This is a shame, not least because all the timetables at the bus stop were finally correct, following another adjustment of the 25's to show the correct location on its diagrammatic map. At least someone has since come along and slapped a roundel sticker on the shelter itself, to confirm to passengers that this is indeed a bus stop. But nobody knows it's Bus Stop M any more, nor any of the information that should be on the pole, as this unfortunate saga drags on into its twelfth month.
Update: Blimey, Alex grabbed the money shot of Bus Stop M being carted away on the back of a lorry!