diamond geezer

 Thursday, May 05, 2016

As Boris departs his post at London's helm after an eight year voyage, it's time to take a commemorative trip to view his legacy. Join me today on this special tour of East London (pre-booking advised).



10.00am Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park: Where better to begin than Boris's biggest success, the 2012 Olympics? Whilst not ultimately responsible for their procurement, his constant support delivered London its greatest success on the world stage. If tourists are now flocking to our capital, there's only one man to thank. Meet by the big tall red swirly thing.
10.10am ArcelorMittal Orbit: Our group has the unique opportunity to ascend the UK's tallest sculpture before the daily crowds arrive, looking down over the more scenic parts of Newham from the upper viewing platform. Alas the big slide isn't finished yet, but without Boris's inspired intervention this must-see attraction might never have been built.
10.45am Olympicopolis: Next we'll go and stand beside the empty building plot where the Water Polo pool stood in 2012, and which will one day the cultural hub of the new East End. The V&A and Sadler's Wells are confirmed, and even the Smithsonian are coming to E20, how amazing is that?
11.00am The <sponsor to be announced> Olympic Stadium: The heart of London's Games is no white elephant, it's West Ham's home ground, or at least it will be once the stadium's much-prolonged transformation is finally complete. And it's fantastic value for money too, if not for the taxpayer then for the average Conservative-supporting businesswoman.
11.15am Pudding Mill Lane: From the platform of the rebuilt DLR station, we look out across the enormous Crossrail building site where the Pudding Mill portal is nearing completion. Whilst not ultimately responsible for its procurement, the Elizabeth Line will be Boris's greatest transport legacy when it's opened bang on schedule, several years later than originally planned.



11.30am Santander Cycles docking station: To continue our tour we'll climb aboard the trademark blue bikes, now trademark red, and ride around the local area in celebration of this popular health-conscious means of public transport, revelling in the fact that the scheme almost makes a profit.
11.50pm Cycle Superhighway 2: No longer just a blue stripe on the road, as it was lauded during the first half of this Mayoralty, this three mile bike route now boasts an almost unbroken segregated lane, and has become a benchmark game-changer for safer cycling in the capital. It might even be fully open soon.
12 noon Bow Roundabout: Now undergoing its fourth revamp since the start of the decade, it's thanks to Boris that this highly dangerous interchange is finally gaining its first ever pedestrian crossings, only a few years after he confirmed it was more important to "smooth the traffic flow" than provide safe passage for locals on foot.
12.10pm Capital Towers: Our tour is privileged to have been given access inside these twin apartment blocks nearing completion in a globally iconic location - immediately alongside the Bow Roundabout. Flats in the 34 storey tower were sold off-plan abroad, and not one is affordable, which is just the kind of forward-thinking housing policy our capital deserves.
12.45pm A12 Blackwall Tunnel Approach Road: Stand beside this key arterial road and breathe in... and that's probably shortened your lifespan by about a week. Now imagine how different it might have been if the Mayor had dared to introduce draconian rules on air quality in Inner London.
1.00pm Bromley-by-Bow station*†: We're here to see the two lifts that were due to be in operation by now, except step-free access is currently running about two years behind schedule. Instead we'll observe the abject chaos that hasn't materialised ever since the ticket office was permanently closed.
*Emirates Airline: From here we could catch the bus down to North Greenwich and take a ride on the most successful cablecar ever to span the Thames in London. But what would be the point, given that the cabins are always packed out and we'd never be able to squeeze on board?
†Night Tube: From here we could catch the overnight tube, a key plank of the Mayor's transport strategy, except a) it's not night time b) it's not Friday or Saturday c) the Night Tube didn't start eight months ago as planned d) it's not happening on the District line because the signalling contract is years behind schedule.




1.20pm Bus Stop M: No tour of post-modern East London would be complete without a visit to this renowned bus stop bypass. Our local expert will regale the party with the full story behind its chaotic construction, then shove the plastic barrier out of the way (again) in the hope that it might now finally possibly be open.
1.35pm New Routemaster ride: Hop aboard the greatest bus in London to enjoy its sleek curves, characteristic aroma and slightly muggy atmosphere. Regrettably the rear platform will not be open as we travel, due to unforeseen budgetary difficulties. Please mind the awkwardly-positioned pole as you hop off.
1.45pm Bow Fire Station: We pause to view the mothballed building on Parnell Road, still empty after its closure three years ago. If time permits we'll also pop down to view the former police station on Bow Road, still not turned into luxury flats or a free school after its closure three years ago.
2.00pm Victoria Park: Our tour ends here, at the site of the plaque unveiled to commemorate Mayor Johnson's triumphant zipwire dangle in the summer of 2012 - the precise moment that his elevation to the post of Prime-Minister-In-Waiting was confirmed. London's not so much losing a chief as bequeathing a leader.


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