diamond geezer

 Sunday, September 06, 2020

Moaning down the Mile End Road

This is where the Mile End Road starts, immediately opposite the old St Clement's Hospital in Bow. The postcode around here is E3, all the way up to the canal. And yet the street sign says E1 which this definitely is not, and it's said E1 for the best part of a good many years. Admittedly most of Mile End Road is in E1 but not this end, so what can the council have been thinking when they installed it? Surely they must have realised it was incorrect, or at the very least someone working for the council must have noticed, and yet somehow the sign is still here. It's precisely this kind of error which leads to the misaddressing of envelopes, or at the very least encourages postcode-related gang violence in inappropriate locations.

This is the junction of Mile End Road with Burdett Road and Grove Road facing the Green Bridge. Specifically this is a staggered pedestrian crossing installed when the junction was rejigged for cycle superhighway reasons, including one of those countdown timers that ticks down to zero just before the man turns red. In this case it ticks down unexpectedly early. I arrived just as the counter hit zero and waited, and waited, and waited, as absolutely none of the traffic moved. Well over twenty seconds elapsed before the traffic lights turned green and all the vehicles finally drove off. I could easily have crossed more than once in that time, but because I didn't know that in advance I hadn't dared step off. I don't know who programmed the lights but surely they've been exceptionally risk averse here, ending the pedestrian countdown almost half a minute earlier than is necessary. The real danger is that those of us who know the numbers end 20 seconds early are more likely to cross the road during the red man phase, which is surely much more dangerous than if the countdown ended at the correct time. Badly phased pedestrian crossings are a risk to us all.

This is the air pollution monitor outside the Engineering faculty at Queen Mary University. It's been stood here for years measuring roadside particles and uploading data to websites, apps and everything. And yet the machinery in the pillar supporting the measuring equipment is always whirring away making all sorts of noises... and dispersing who knows what into the atmosphere. Surely that can't be right. I don't know precisely what the sensors are measuring or what emissions the machinery is belching out, and presumably the Engineering department know what they're doing, but surely a machine which measures air pollution shouldn't also be contributing to it.

This is Stepney Green station. It's closed, as it has been since 21st March. I'm not sure why it's been closed for the best part of six months, nor why it's ended up one of the last ten stations to be reopened along with more deserving subterranean cases like Covent Garden and Tufnell Park. Surely TfL could have brought in staff from neighbouring stations rather than providing no service whatsoever to those living in the neighbourhood. If you look at the photo you'll see a woman has turned up hoping to catch a train but has been thwarted by the locked doors. Surely she must have realised it was closed given the station hasn't been open since March. It reopens at 7am on Monday morning, as a noticed taped to the door surely makes very clear.

This is the new Mile End Travelodge. It's not yet open so is surrounded by security railings, and I spotted a stepladder and a pile of boxes in reception. But it is due to open in a month's time on Monday 5th October when the cheapest room will set you back £49.99, assuming anybody turns up. Surely Mile End doesn't need a new 88-room hotel - there's nothing here worth visiting and the local tube station isn't even open at the moment. I wouldn't pay that much to stay in Mile End, and surely neither would anyone else who lives within walking distance. It would surely have been more useful to have turned the previous building into flats, or even to have left it as a disused Topps Tiles showroom rather than a hotel nobody is using.

This is the Empire Chinese takeaway at number 43 Mile End Road. They also do fish and chips as you can see from the sign at the front. But what the sign also says is that the shop's telephone number is 071 790 9454 which it definitely isn't. 071 was only the dialling code for inner London from May 1990 to April 1995, so this particular sign must be more than 25 years old! Surely they should have replaced it by now. Just imagine the custom they must have lost over the last quarter of a century by displaying the incorrect number. This is surely no way to run a profitable takeaway business.

These are the electric vehicle charging points outside the Trinity Green Almshouses. All three of them are empty! What is the point of going to all the expense of installing charging points if nobody's going to use them? Surely someone should have known they'd never be used and saved the council's valuable cash. Charging points are a complete waste of money because there are hardly any electric vehicles because there are hardly any charging points, surely?

This is the new entrance to Whitechapel station. It is of course the old entrance but revamped ready for Crossrail, except Crossrail isn't ready yet so the old/new entrance remains boarded up. Surely it should have opened by now. Everything was supposed to be ready two years ago, remember, so surely it should have been possible to open up just the Underground/Overground part rather than the whole thing. Instead everyone still has to troop round to the inconvenient temporary entrance which surely nobody imagined still being open after five years. I have no idea what stage the engineering works inside are at, nor have I stopped for one moment to consider any alternative possibilities, but the station entrance should surely be open by now. I'm not an expert, but surely.

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Life viewed from London E3

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