I have, belatedly, sampled the Cycle Superhighway that runs along the A11 through Mile End having gone to Stratford twice in the past week. I must say that the comments from the cycling fraternity (and sorority) made so far have been far too mild. To say it is a joke is to demean the concept of humour. On the section I cycled between Mile End station and the infamous Bow roundabout – after which it unaccountably ends – it is merely a patchwork of bits of blue interspersed by bus lanes, black tarmac and various other markings.
Moreover, it is not even the same ghastly Barclays bank blue throughout. It alternates between that standard blue and a darker one, either because TfL has become ashamed of its association with the hated bank or, more likely, because the alternative darker version is cheaper. To add further ridicule to the superhighway idea, just a year or so after the introduction of the lane, in a couple of places the Barclays blue is eroding away, returning the road to its usual browny-black colour.
I had expected, too, given the amount of money spent on it that it would be a continuous blue line with special protected bike lanes, at various intervals. But no, there seems to be very little new special infrastructure for cyclists and, of course, the special lane disappears as soon as it encounters something more important such as a bus stop or a junction. At bus stops, for example, the blue ends and there is a sign painted on the outside line denoting it a cycle superhighway. Why?
I am truly, utterly aghast at the ridiculous nature of what has been done. Surely, even the most bone headed highway engineer would understand that the whole idea of a ‘highway’, let alone a ‘super’ one is that it would provide a continuous route through all the obstacles which an urban main road presents. Can you imagine a motorway that kept on becoming a single lane road – or indeed a muddy path – at regular intervals. As I say, I had not realised from all the descriptions from my fellow cyclists that this was such a shambles. And surely Boris, with all your Olympic emphasis, could you not have coughed up the few bob necessary to make the Superhighway stretch up to Stratford for the Games? Doh!