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Update 12 (April 7th 2016)

Traffic lights at Bow Road Tube Station – Bow Road is usually busy, especially at rush hour. Given the hazards this may present to pedestrians crossing the road it might be expected that when planned work is being done on controlled crossings, temporary lights would always be installed for the duration of the work. It might be thought appropriate that when TfL, as the client of the current road improvement works, drew up the tender contract it would have stipulated such a safeguard always be in place. However, at least the webpage of the London Highways Alliance, a joint initiative between TfL and London’s boroughs, states that one of the benefits of the organisational co-operation will be;

prominent safety signage to help improve road safety for pedestrians and cyclists.

Recently new lights were installed on the crossing outside Bow Road Tube Station but no temporary lights were installed during the period in which work was taking place and there was no safety signage as to where the nearest alternative crossing point would be.

It’s Adler Street – Bus passengers are now clear that the confusion noted in Update 11 has been cleared up. The sign and the shelter show the same stop.

Update 13 (April 19th 2016)

Mayoral election of May 5th. What changes might this bring to TfL? - It will be interesting to see if there is any improvement in the efficiency of TfL after the upcoming mayoral election. The main two contenders for the job of mayor are Zac Goldsmith (Conservative) and Sadiq Kahn (Labour). In the April 4th edition of the London Evening Standard their transport policies were compared. Both appeared committed to increasing cycle use but both have expressed reservations about how this should be done. In an article of April 13th, also in the Evening Standard, Goldsmith seemed to distance himself from the way in which the present cycle superhighways had been initiated and delivered. He was quoted as saying “Cycling is going to double. But you’ve got to do those things in such a way that the communities affected are broadly in support.”  ‘Those things’ apparently referred to cycle superhighways.

Sadiq Kahn has been more forceful in his general criticism of TfL than Goldsmith. If elected he intends, according to the April 4th article, to fund a fares freeze by cracking down on ‘waste and excess’ within the organisation, which, he asserts, is ‘bloated’. Interestingly, his manifesto indicates that he will establish, ‘Safe walking routes, to give children cleaner and safer journeys to school.’ This will mean, presumably, strict and enforced segregation between child pedestrians and cyclists to ensure the safety of children.

‘Slow’ signs – At last bus stop island bypasses on the CS2 in Tower Hamlets are being given ‘Slow’ signs. Although the bypass at the Coborn Road bus stop has been open for months the sign was only put down yesterday morning.

It would appear that the contractor’s permit for works on the CS2 expires on April 30th and so, presumably, everything will be completed by that date. This will probably be something of a relief for cyclists who regularly use the road between Aldgate and Bow. As work has progressed they have been obliged dodge on and off the main carriageway as an open section of the cycle track was followed by another that was closed. In some cases the closed section looked ready for use but was obstructed by a red-plastic-barrier with a sandbag base. This was sometimes because the initial cycle track was substandard and had to be re-laid. Be interesting to know who is going to pay for all of the reinstatement.

Update 14 (May 20th 2016)

It did not take much time for the question of safety at bus stop islands to be raised with the new Mayor of London, Sadiq Kahn. Mayor Kahn was elected on May 5th by an overwhelming majority of those who voted and, according to an article in the Evening Standard of May 13th, was quickly asked to intervene by a Member of Parliament over the question of a proposed cycle lane near St Thomas’s Hospital. Click here for the link to the article.

Update 15 (May 23rd 2016)

Despite their negative aspects, it is hard to see what alternatives there are to bus stop islands (or ‘floating bus stops’) if cyclists are to be offered segregation from motor traffic, but avoidance of conflict between pedestrians and cyclists at these points does not seem to have been forseen or taken as seriously as it might have been by TfL planners. Given the sanguine attitude taken on the TfL website (see Update 10) and the view that, in Newham, there was no apparent conflict between pedestrians and cyclists it is something of a surprise that, according to the article referred to in Update 14 above, TfL staff are on accident prevention duties at the Elephant. Moreover, one would also imagine that keen safety consciousness would have been shown when planning applications concerning bus shelters were presented – but look what happened at Mile End.

In September 2015 TfL submitted an application for planning permission to install a digital advertising display panel at the end of the bus shelter at Mile End. The letter accompanying the application can be read here. One would expect that care would have been taken to ensure the support documents reflected the situation ‘on the ground’ accurately but regrettably those sent to the council’s planning department showed the situation as it was before work on the bus stop island began. Click here to see the submitted document showing the old shelter. This was important because the end panel would completely obscure the view of a cyclist passing on the inside of the bus stop island. Given the increased possibility of a collision between cyclists and pedestrians when bus stop islands are built one would have thought, from the point of view of safety, it would be far better to have an end panel that was completely transparent. This TfL animation (click here) shows how an end panel could obscure a cyclists view although the hazard is not mentioned on the accompanying soundtrack.

Note the width of the paved area on the island between the idealised shelter and the track compared with the reality at Mile End (see photo to the left)

Objections were made to the application and it was withdrawn and then resubmitted. Unfortunately, accurate maps were not submitted with the second application either. These were necessary as, unless the site was visited, such maps needed to be consulted before an informed judgement could be made as to the hazard, to both cyclists and pedestrians, presented by the proposed end panel. Neither of the maps accompanying the second application gave any idea of the position of either the newly built central reservation or the adjacent pedestrian crossing. The crossing was important in considering the blind spot created by the proposed end panel. 

A pedestrian crossing from Mile End Tube Station to the north side footway theoretically does so in two stages. Stage one takes them over the west bound carriageway to the central reservation from where they cross the east bound carriageway on a second crossing, which is offset from the first.

Many pedestrians do not use the second crossing. Instead, if no motor traffic is coming, they walk directly across the road and end up on the bus stop island to the east of the shelter. This was illustrated by photograph C submitted by TfL. Click here to see that photo. The two figures to the right of the shelter have clearly just deviated from the crossing and are about to step out onto the cycle track. They would be invisible to cycle traffic on the track until the last moment. Photograph B shows the blind spot from a different angle. The man by the side of the panel would be completely invisible to a cyclist on the track and if he turned and started to walk across the track it is quite possible he would be hit by an approaching cycle. Click here to see photograph B.

It should also be noted that, sometimes, alighting bus passengers walk behind the end panel before they cross to the track to the footway. Mile End Station (north side) is a very busy stop and there are sometimes two or three buses or there. Consequently, it appears that when TfL painted the yellow lines demarcating the bus stop area it positioned them so a bus could stop with the front doors to the east side of the shelter end panel (see photo to the left). If any passengers alight through these doors they will almost immediately enter the blind spot and the same danger arises as pointed out in the paragraph above.

The end panel on the bus shelter that previously stood on the footway did not have a base that was the same width as the panel. There were gaps at each end of the base. Such a panel is currently in place at Stepney Green Station (south side). If such a base were used at Mile End it would allow a cyclist an opportunity, slight though it might be, to see if someone was about to step out onto the track.

It might have been hoped there would be enhanced safety features at Mile End, which might have include a clear end panel. Or railings might have been placed by the cycle track between the end panel and the far end of the island to stop pedestrians crossing from the blind spot. Or audio and visual warnings might have been given on buses to warn alighting bus passengers - but nothing has been put in place.

The council planning department considered the objections but allowed TfL to go ahead anyway.

Please note - for some reason the above links to the Tower Hamlets Environment and Planning website may bring up a page saying Document Unavailable. However, all the documents should be available if you go to the Simple Search page on the relevant website. If you type in PA/15/02632 in the search box you should see a link to 12 documents, each of which should be accessible.

Update 16  (July 4th 2016)

Wasting customers’ time - Close to the Westfield shopping centre in Stratford there are two bus stations. The one to the north of the railway tracks, which is by the entrance to the centre itself, is called Stratford City Bus Station. Diversions are presently in place due to an event taking place in Queen Elizabeth park. This is how TfL is dealing with information needed by customers who wanted (and want) to travel towards Shadwell on the 339, which runs for part of its route on the A11.

Bus stop X on Montfichet Road serves both the D8 and 339 and two identical information notices about the diversions are displayed on the timetable board fixed to the post that supports the bus stop sign (see photo to the left). No further notices have been placed on the shelter and the bus stop sign itself gave no indication that any suspension has occurred despite the fact that other suspended stops on the 339 route have been covered.

Bus stop X was certainly suspended for the 339 on Thursday June 30th, Friday July 1st and Sunday July 3rd. In fact, it may well have been suspended, as the notices indicated it would be, every day from Sunday, June 26th. It is due to revert to normal tomorrow morning.

Customers who approach bus stop X from the east, or who use it regularly and feel there is no need to consult the timetable board, are, or may well be, unaware that the stop is suspended. Consequently they will wait for a 339 which never arrives at the stop. Unfortunately for them if they consult the timetable board they will be misled by the TfL notice as to the nearest place where they can catch their bus.  

As you can see from the notice TfL indicates that the nearest alternative stop for the 339 going towards Shadwell is either Stop F near Stratford International or Stop F on White Post Lane near Hepscott Road. This is not the case. What actually happened on the three days noted above is that when a Shadwell bound bus approached bus stop X it would turn into the bus station and stop at bus stop T (see photo to the left, taken on Sunday July 3rd). At this point some customers who had been waiting for some time at bus stop X would cotton on to what was amiss and cross the road to try to board. However, they would be told by the driver that they had to go to bus stop W, which was a short distance away, and wait there to be picked up. It is not difficult to imagine the confusion caused and yet there was no-one from TfL on hand to deal with the problem. The drivers are not employed by TfL and, when asked, simply told customers to contact TfL.

This morning exactly the same thing happened. Customers waiting for the 339 had no reason to suppose that the 339 would not stop at bus stop X because, despite the suspension notice, the D8 is now stopping there.

A short distance from bus stop T is a TfL Information and assistance point which seems to always have the Position Closed blind pulled down. Although TfL vans appear to be permanently parked nearby no member of TfL staff seem to be on hand to deal with any issues in what is quite a busy little bus station. There may be staff on duty at the bus station to the south of the tracks but what good is that and how would any customer know?

TfL will, perhaps, be keeping a record of all the information supplied to customers in order to monitor its own performance and ensure it is delivering the ‘high quality service’ the website says it is aiming for. One question it might ask itself is how, on the information provided for the D8, the nearest stop to bus stop X on Monfichet Road can be bus stop X on Montfichet Road. It would, of course, also review all the information given to customers about the D8 and the 339 going towards Leytonstone during the time of the disruption.

There will, doubtless, be many diversions in future as more events are held in the area of the Olympic arena. Might it be an idea for a senior member of the Bus Operations section of TfL to make a point of conducting a close inspection of all the diversion notices just before they are activated. This would help to stop customers being confused and having their time wasted. TfL might also ensure that there is a clearly identified member of staff on duty even when the information booth is closed. Such changes would make the slogan ‘Every journey matters’ ring truer.

Update 17  (July 15th 2016)

More wasting of customers’ time at bus stop X – After the notices for the suspension of bus stop X noted above were removed another one was put up (see photo to the left). It had the usual exclamation mark in the top corner which perhaps means customers should look out for mistakes and inadequate or misleading information. The suspension was between 5pm and 10pm yesterday evening.

The notice was better than the one put up previously. However, once again, customers who approached bus stop X from the east, or who used it regularly and felt there was no need to consult the timetable board, were unaware that the stop was suspended. Consequently, quite a few waited for a Shadwell bound 339 which never arrived at the stop because it was diverted into Stratford City Bus Station. The notice indicated this but no care had been taken to say at which stop it would be possible to board. Consequently, when customers realised what was happening there was a rush across the road to bus stop T and then another rush to bus stop W. A number of passengers were irate and confused, which was quite understandable. The TfL Information and assistance point had, as usual, the Position Closed blind pulled down and although TfL vans were parked nearby no identifiable member of TfL staff was available to give assistance either. Altogether then another example of TfL not really taking the slogan ‘Every journey matters’ as seriously as it might.

Incidentally, one would hope that TfL could at least ensure it prints the right year on its notices.

Update 18 (August 5th 2016)

Transport for London spends a great deal of money on its advertising budget. A good deal of this advertising could be described as propaganda or ‘polishing the brand’ for it might be argued that it gives no information which is of much practical use to the public. Would it be better if some of this money was directed towards improving the service TfL actually provides which is, after all, the reason the company exists?

One example of how it could reallocate funds may currently be seen on Bow Road, next to Bow Road Tube Station. One of the latest TfL adverts has just appeared on the noticeboard, which, quite rightly, emphasises what a valuable job bus drivers do. It is a pity, however, that more attention has not been paid to ensuring that the information sheet on the adjoining panel is kept up-to-date. It was put up, presumably, to assist tube travellers who want to continue their journey by bus or just get an overview of the services in the area. As the 339 is featured in Updates 16 and 17 above it is worth looking at the information provided by the relevant department of the TfL administration for bus services in the area.

Let us imagine that someone leaves the tube station and wants to go to one of the units in one of the developments close to the Lee Navigation, at a point where it is crossed by White Post Lane. There is a 339 bus stop on White Post Lane which would be the obvious place to alight. A 339 going from Shadwell to Stratford City Bus Station (it actually carries Leytonstone on the destination indicator) stops at both Mile End and Usher Road so the easiest way to get there would be by catching a 339 at either of those stops and then getting off at White Post Lane. However, anyone looking at the map outside Bow Road Tube Station (see photograph to the left) would see no sign of White Post Lane and draw the conclusion that the 339 is routed to Stratford City Bus Station via Warton Road on Stratford High Street. That was the route once but it was changed a few months ago and when either going or returning from Stratford City Bus Station the 339 goes no-where near Stratford High Street or Warton Road. Consequently, despite what the TfL Route Finder says, it stops at neither bus stop P nor bus stop W.

Similar out-of date information concerns the 25. The Route Finder indicates it is possible to catch an Ilford  bound 25 at either bus stop M or bus stop W. It can be caught at bus stop M, but bus stop M is now where bus stop G used to be. Bus stop G has disappeared. As mentioned in Update 8 the 25 is now routed over Bow flyover and does not call at bus stop W, which means that someone getting on a 25 at bus stop A and wanting to alight at bus stop W would be carried on to Warton Road and have to walk back. On its return journey the 25 is routed over the flyover too and so does not stop at bus stop P.  See the photograph to the left.

Given the notice outside Bow Road Tube Station says ‘Red discs show the bus stop you need for your chosen bus service’ one would expect that TfL would make sure that its maps were up to date or at the very least have a clearly marked addendum panel where changes were recorded. Even if TfL takes the attitude is ‘these days everybody uses a mobile device to access our Journey Planner’, it should, surely, keep notices up-to-date or take them away. Looking closely at the notice indicates that the ‘Information was correct from January 2013’, which means, presumably, it was last updated over three and a half years ago.

As yet no sign of the information and assistance point at Stratford City Bus Station being opened or any clue as to when this might be.

Update 19 (September 4th 2016)

More confusion at Stratford City Bus Station -When Transport for London responded to a query about the misleading notice placed on the information panel at bus stop X (see Update 16) in June it said that the that the information was posted to provide customers at the previous stop with the relevant information. So information which was relevant to the previous stop, but not bus stop X, was posted on the bus stop X information panel. It is regrettable this was not noticed by TfL staff, or if it was noticed not acted upon, for 9 days during which time there was much confusion, frustration and, inevitably, lost time, amongst customers. Explaining the lack of assistance a TfL manager asserted that Stratford City Bus Station is ‘unstaffed’, which is why no TfL employees were on hand to help customers there. No idea how long Stratford City Bus Station will remain will remain ‘unstaffed’, of course, as there is still no sign of the Information and assistance booth being opened. However, a new information post has been installed close to the booth and we might hope that this could help passengers using bus stop X. No such luck.

Information about times the next buses are due are displayed via a touch screen. However, the information is of no use to those wishing to take either the 339 towards Shadwell or the D8 towards Crossharbour from bus stop X.

There are 5 bus stops which have Stratford City Bus Station displayed under their letter designation. The stops are T and W ‘inside’ the bus station and U (which is for alighting customers only) and S on Montfichet Road. X, which is also on Montfichet Road is directly opposite the information post. The photograph to the left shows the bus stop X sign. Stratford City Bus Station is shown quite clearly and is identical to that displayed on bus stops T, W, U and S. Unfortunately, any customer wanting to know when the next Crossharbour bound D8 or Shadwell bound 339 is due to arrive could watch the screen until the cows come home. They will not be listed although the next D8 going to Stratford International or a 339 going to Leytonstone will be displayed.  

Perhaps a confused customer, having previously been told to catch a D8 or 339 from bus stop X, but not quite knowing where it is situated would consult the map close to the booth window. They might hope that, even if assistance could not be given by a member of TfL staff or on the information post screen, the map would be accurate. Not so. The photo to the left shows the map displayed next to the window. Stand in front of the board and bus stop X is clearly visible directly across Montfitchet Road. The X on top of the post cannot be seen however, because it is set at right angles to the road. The stop is accessible by walking a little way to a controlled crossing and turning left on the other side. But according to the TfL map a customer would need to turn right once they had crossed the Montfitchet Road. If they did that they would not find a bus stop. Perhaps they would think there was a temporary, unmarked sign somewhere (one was recently in use on White Post Lane) and start walking to find it. Unfortunately, if they looked left after crossing Montfitchet Road they might not see not see a sign with X on it anyway as it could be obscured by the leaves of a tree. How far would the customer walk after turning right before they turned back? Who knows? But TfL misdirection would have once again wasted customers time.

Update 20 (September 17th 2016)

Customers using the TfL Journey Planner might hope that the information they will be given will be comprehensive and that the consequences of any diversions will be clearly flagged. This needs, of course, to be tested on the ground.

The London Aquatics Centre is served by both the 339 and the D8 but on days when West Ham are playing at home diversions are made. When planning a journey from Leytonstone High Road Station to the London Aquatics Centre last Saturday morning (September 10th) a route was suggested that would end at Stratford City Bus Station where either a D8 or a 339 could be boarded at bus stop X.

Anyone using the Journey Planner would naturally expect diversions to be clearly shown and it did in fact state that from 1200 to 1830 the 339 was on diversion. It did not make clear, however, that this diversion would mean that the 339 would go no-where near the London Aquatics Centre in the diversionary period. Nor was there any intimation that during the diversionary period the 339 would not depart from bus stop X. Instead it said that ‘Buses towards Shadwell from Stratford City Bus Station are diverting left Montfichet Road’ and then went on to state which roads the bus would go down before rejoining the usual route. Someone without access to a map might take it that the bus would leave bus stop X as usual and get to the London Aquatics Centre by a different route. This was not so. The only way to get to the London Aquatics Centre from bus stop X was to walk. The D8 was also on diversion, although only between 12.00 and 16.45. Nonetheless the same lack of information would have caused confusion to customers aiming to use that route too.

It was true that anyone arriving at bus stop X would find an information sheet on the bus stop information panel (shown on the photograph to the left). It is only at this point that a customer would see the actual route of the diversion because the map on the Journey Planner merely showed the normal route. The information sheet also indicated that the 339 would depart from bus stop W, which was not stated on the Journey Planner.  It could have been and should have been because it is only from this stop that the statement ‘Buses towards Shadwell from Stratford City Bus Station are diverting left Montfichet Road’ makes sense. Oddly the nearest pick-up point besides bus stop W was shown as bus stop F on White Post Lane. The temporary stop shown on the map close to where Waterden Road becomes Westfield Avenue and which was indicated as a stopping point for the 388 was not shown as serving the 339, but it is not clear why not.

A similar situation is, presumably, going to occur every time a West Ham home game takes place. Why can’t the Journey Planner simply state, in bold, highlighted text, that during the diversionary period neither the 339 nor the D8 will serve the London Aquatics Centre?

Update 21 (October 15th 2016)

Yet more confusion at Stratford City Bus Station - In the last couple of weeks there have been changes to the route of the D8. It no longer runs through Stratford City Bus Station. The route of the 108 has also been changed. It now goes through Stratford City Bus Station and buses bound for Lewisham stop at bus stop X. It might have been hoped information in Stratford City Bus Station would have been comprehensively updated to alert those wishing to catch the 108 in the direction of Lewisham to the change. However, but not, perhaps, unsurprisingly, TfL has apparently not planned for this information update. Only the information at bus stop X itself has been updated.

A customer arriving at Stratford City Bus Station from the Underground, Overground or DLR and wanting to catch a Lewisham bound 108 might try to get information from the digital information post (see Update 19) but they would wait in vain to see any information about bus stop X because that stop still does not appear on the screen.  As the Information and assistance booth remains closed and the bus station remains unstaffed anyone wanting to find out where to catch the 108 would probably look at the map by the window of the booth. Because this has not been changed they would be instructed to cross the bridge over the railway to Stratford Bus Station and go to one of the stops indicated by letters shown. To double check they might try and raise and would then be confident that this was the right thing to do as the 108 is still shown as leaving Stratford Bus Station. Having set off on this wild goose chase they would, after arriving at any of these stops (after quite a walk), find the 108 did not now go from any of them. Presumably, Stratford Bus Station would be staffed and the customer would then be given correct information about where to catch a 108 so have to make their way back over the bridge or, following the route set out on the TfL journey planner, catch another two buses to Bow Church Station where they could board the 108.  

I wonder how long it will be before TfL management get round to updating the map at Stratford City Bus Station even just by adding a sticker to indicate that the 108 now departs from bus stop X. It would, of course, be a good idea, at the same time, to accurately identify where bus stop X actually is.  Let’s hope this does not take as long as updating the map outside Bow Road Tube Station. The information about the April 2014 change of route for the 339 is still not shown and so is two and a half years out of date. Now, of course the routes of the D8 and 108 are also out of date. I think we may be sure such neglect will never be apparent in respect of displaying the latest round of TfL propaganda posters.

Surely, having a policy of co-ordinating and immediately updating all information provided to customers should be an important consideration of any transport company or organisation. It doesn’t seem such a hard thing to do.

Update 22 (October 19th 2016)

Since the last update on October 15th TfL has made some changes to the information it is providing on the 108 route. Click on and you will now find that the 108 is shown as passing through Stratford City Bus Station on its way to Lewisham. Consult the TfL journey planner and the More Details section shows it departs from bus stop X.

There has, however, been no updating of the map or the ‘where to catch the bus list’ by the Information and assistance booth (which is still closed) so anyone consulting that is still directed to cross the bridge to Stratford Bus Station. And the digital information post still does not show departures from bus stop X.

Update 23 (October 24th 2016)

One station, two maps, both out of date - The photo to the left shows Bow Road Tube Station. It has two signboards out side. The one advertising Bus Information is visible to passengers as they leave the station. It seems reasonable to expect that TfL would ensure the information about bus routes would be up to date on this board. According to a line of small print the map was correct in January 2013 and, as far as I can see, it was. However, it ceased to be accurate in April 2014 when a new route was instituted for the 339. No notification was pasted on the map to alert travellers to this change.

On the other side of the concourse is a second board, invisible to passengers at the station entrance. On this board there is no headline reference to bus routes but a map simply carries the title ‘Continuing your journey from Bow Road’.  There are two parts to the cartographic information. One part is a large scale map of the area, the other a bus map. According to a line of small print the bus route map was correct in June 2016. This map shows the new route of the 339, but why would a passenger, unless they were aware of the difficulties TfL appears to have in providing accurate information to the travelling public, bother to look at this map once they had consulted the one on the Bus Information board? And, unless they went hunting round each map to find the date of publication, why would they think the second board bus map was more up to date than the first?

The second board bus map itself became out of date when the D8 and 108 routes were changed. And yet, even before that, there was, when compared with the Bus Information map, what seems to be to be a puzzling omission. The 108 route, which was correctly shown on the 2013 map, appears to have disappeared into a kind of Bermuda Triangle around Bow Church. In June the route, shown in red, ran into the ‘central map box’ via Bromley High Street but, according to the map, did not run on towards Stratford. This means that the route must have been terminating within the box. Whatever the map indicated I know the buses actually did run on towards Stratford after January 2013 as I travelled on them myself (and see the top photo by Update 3) but I do not know when the route was curtailed. However, despite what the map indicates, the 108 does now run on towards Stratford.

Update 24 (November 16th 2016)

Road Modernisation - Globe Road/Mile End Road junction

According to a recent press release by Living Streets a report by the Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety indicated that although Britain compares favourably with other leading countries for all road deaths, pedestrian deaths are higher. Given this observation one might hope TfL, in liaison with local councils if needed, would strive to make, as a priority, crossing each road at a busy junction as safe possible. This would be particularly true where road traffic is controlled by traffic lights but there are no pedestrian lights. One example of this between Aldgate and Bow is at Stepney Green, where Globe Road meets Mile End Road (see photo to left).

Stepney Green Tube Station is well-used. Many students pass through it going to and from Queen Mary, University of London. Pedestrians walking east, which includes those leaving the station, must cross Globe Road, vehicular exit from which is controlled by two sets of signals on one post, which is shown as A on the map to the left. The main set are normal traffic lights and there is a smaller set too. This is for cyclists. It allows cyclists to go slightly earlier than motorised traffic. Cycle control lights are also fitted to posts at points B, C and D.

Between 08.05 and 09.05 on the morning of Monday, November 14th, a typical working day, over 500 pedestrians crossed Globe Road going either east or west, but each had to make a judgement as to whether it was safe to cross. Unlike those waiting in, or on, vehicles at the traffic lights these pedestrians were without the benefit of any signals at all, least of all the ‘countdown’ type which TfL has installed elsewhere.

Traffic travelling west down Mile End Road may be held at the lights at point B. When these turn green vehicles wanting to turn right into Globe Road make their way to the central ‘turn right’ waiting lane and must wait there until traffic proceeding east goes past. If there is no traffic going east then waiting vehicles are free to enter Globe Road because the waiting lane (half of which is for traffic turning into White Horse Lane) is not controlled by any lights at all.

In this situation pedestrians waiting to cross Globe Road have to make a judgement as to whether a vehicle may move from the central waiting lane and, if so, if they have time to make it safely to the other side of the road. Even if there is no vehicle waiting pedestrians have to keep an eye out for vehicles travelling east, but which intend to turn left into Globe Road when the lights at point D turn green.

Once the lights turn green on Globe Road traffic will begin to move, cycles first and then motor traffic. Traffic will also begin to approach from White Horse Lane. These vehicles will have a clear run as east-bound traffic on Mile End Road will have already stopped. Vehicles from White Horse Lane may gather some speed as they pass over the central waiting lane and then enter Globe Road. In these circumstances it is not surprising that some pedestrians look bewildered or annoyed at not having a safe time to cross or that others chose to make a dash for it or step out and then quickly step back when a vehicle comes from an unexpected direction. A similar situation occurs at the Mile End/White Horse Lane junction as this is also without pedestrian lights, although the number of pedestrians crossing at this point is substantially fewer that on Globe Road.

Junction safety was, presumably, reviewed when the CS2 was built, which was, according to the TfL website, part of the current Road Modernisation project. In the current press advertising campaign TfL asserts;

As part of our Road Modernisation Plan we’re redesigning junctions, pedestrian and cyclist facilities to help improve safety.

It would be interesting to know if, at the time planning of the CS2 took place, the safety of pedestrians crossing Globe Road was considered under the wider terms of the Road Modernisation Plan. According to the TfL map the area was subject to a ‘major upgrade to junction’. Oddly the junction is presented on the map as a T junction, when it is rather more of a staggered junction. White Horse Lane is not shown on the map.

It is something of a disappointment that when the junction upgrade took place no measures were put in place to ensure pedestrians have a signalised time to cross Globe Road. This could be at a point when all traffic, including cyclists, would be halted at red lights on each of the roads feeding into Globe Road and on Globe Road itself. Such phasing could be supplemented by the installation of a filter light on the waiting lane and a yellow box close to the lights at B and C to prevent a blockage of traffic caused by an excess of vehicles entering from White Horse Lane or Mile End Road. But then TfL planners are the experts and I’m sure they could come up with other options too.

Other points noticed during the observation on November 14th were;

a cyclist and a van driver in dispute when the van driver, leaving the waiting lane, almost drove into the path of the cyclist using the east bound CS2. The driver’s control of his vehicle was not helped by the fact that he was holding a hot drink beaker in one hand. There were also a number of occasions when cyclists going west obviously felt intimidated by the traffic crossing from the waiting lane. A filter light would stop this.

Nine cyclists cycled onto Mile End Road from Globe Road, four ignoring a red light to do so.

One impatient car driver scattered pedestrians crossing Globe Road by pressing his horn continuously as soon as the lights at A turned green.

A woman pushing a buggy escorted by a boy of about 10 halted at the crossing when walking eastwards. The cars were stopped at the lights and the boy said ‘C’mon they’ve stopped for us’. An understandable mistake. It is a good job they didn’t move because within a few seconds a car going at speed swept across from White Horse Lane.

Information still incorrect or out of date

As yet no change at Stratford City Bus Station (see Update 22) where there has been no correction of the map or the ‘where to catch the bus’ list by the Information and assistance booth (which is still closed). Consequently anyone consulting that is still directed to cross the bridge to Stratford Bus Station to catch the 108. And the digital information post still does not show departures from bus stop X.

No change to the maps at Bow Road Tube Station either (see Update 23), which continue to get more and more out of date. However, the adjacent poster on the Bus Information board has been changed. The the previous poster, showing a bus driver, has disappeared to be replaced by a reminder about using a contactless card to pay for a fare.


Update 25 (December 1st 2016)

The changes on routes 108 and D8 took effect from October 1st. This was flagged over eight weeks ago by temporary notices like the one shown to the left but, as yet, still no changes have been made to the map and information provided at Stratford City Bus Station. The two out of date maps at Bow Road Tube station also remain in place. The map on the concourse of the Bow Church DLR station is also out of date. Probably the easiest way to reach the London Aquatics Centre from the concourse would be to cross the road and catch a 108 from bus stop A. The map on the concourse does not, however, show the present route.

Anyone wanting to go to White Post Lane on the 339 Leytonstone to Shadwell route should be aware that, despite what the TfL Journey Planner says, stop F is closed. No explanation on the bus or on the Journey Planner ‘status alert’ as to why. The stop sign has been removed although the one on the other side of the road (D) remains.  

Update 26 (December 7th 2016)

Looks like bus stop F on White Post Road might not be closed now (see Update 25). Previously a recorded message was given by TfL (which controls the messages) to customers to say it was and that they should alight at either the stop before or the one after. However, that message has now been discontinued and customers may alight at bus stop F after pressing the stop button.  But what if someone wants to catch the bus? Well, there is still no bus stop sign but Bus Stop is still painted on the road (see photo to the left) so maybe they could try waiting at the kerb and waving as the bus approaches. Of course, as there is no bus stop sign and no timetable, either someone new to the area might have no idea of the bus which served the stop or of whether is it in use or not.

Stratford City Bus Station

At least some good news to report from Stratford City Bus Station. The map and information sheet by the Information and assistance booth have been updated and now passengers for the 108 are no longer sent on a wild goose chase across the footbridge (see Update 22 onwards). Moreover the TfL cartographic department has placed bus stop X in the correct position. Regrettably, the Information and assistance booth is still closed and the digital information post still does not show departures from bus stop X.

Update 27 (December 18th 2016)

Good news from Stratford City Bus Station - not so good from elsewhere.

TfL has finally included information about bus stop X on the digital information post close to the (still closed) Information and assistance booth. This is to be welcomed but, surely, TfL should have in place a method of systematically checking the information it publishes and then acting quickly to put things right when this is needed. It is, for example, two months since TfL was directly alerted to the two out of date maps (see Update 23) outside Bow Road Tube Station but, as yet, no effort appears to have been made to replace them.

It can only be hoped that when the maps at Bow Road Tube Station are replaced more attention to detail is shown than when new maps were recently installed on bus shelters on the Stratford International-bound 108 route at the Devons Road (DLR Station) and Rounton Road stops. One, which has the statement ‘Information correct from 7 October 2016’, is accurate as far as the 108 route is concerned and also shows the D8 as going to Stratford. This matches the change of route notice that was placed on the bus stop post, which said route changes would take place on October 1st (see photo). Unfortunately, the other is correct as far as the 108 is concerned but does not show the D8 as serving the route between Bow and Stratford Bus Station (see photo). What is dispiriting about this is that the map carries the statement ‘Information correct from 8 October 2016’ i.e. a day after the correct map was published and a week after the flagged changes came into operation.

Archive 3 - 2016