Monday, 9 February 2015

CS2 Upgrade - Works start today for 58 weeks.

Work started this morning and continues for the next 58 weeks on upgrading the existing Cycle Superhighway Route Number 2 (aka CS2U).

I've scoured the web to find changes made to the route as a result of the Autumn consultation. Unfortunately the views of local people, including cyclists, regarding the MEOTRA section of the route have been ignored. In contrast, the section through Whitechapel has been altered significantly much to the dismay of cycling groups.

Obviously the introduction of two banned turns at the Mile End junction is highly contentious. Indeed TfL seem to be the only ones who like them! Poor Starbucks have only just opened at Mile End, but surely their outdoor table and chairs will have to go when the pavement halves in width. The report submitted to the TfL board last week has this to say about our turf: 

Some features of the proposals which received negative feedback
during the public consultation have been retained. The most notable of these are:
(a) The proposed banned turns from Mile End Road into Burdett Road and from
Burdett Road into Mile End Road, Stepney Green and Leman Street to
remain, as to remove these would increase traffic queuing and there would
not be enough space for the cycle facility
(b) Taxi bay removed outside Mile End station and relocated in order to provide
a bus stop outside the station entrance.
(c) The un-segregated section adjacent to Bancroft Road to remain in the
proposals. Although using the land outside the Ocean Estate is outside the
scope of CS2U, TfL will discuss the potential for future highway widening
and potential for segregated cycle lanes with the London Borough of Tower
Hamlets, the Ocean Estate and other interested parties
(d) Bus stop bypasses remain in the proposals as a means of reducing the
potential for cyclist/bus conflict. Monitoring of the bus stop bypasses on
Cycle Superhighway route 2 at Stratford has found that only two interactions
out of 1,535 passing cycle movements resulted in the potential for a collision
with a pedestrian. No injury collisions have been recorded since these bypasses have been implemented.

The detailed results of the initial TfL consultation can be found here.

The screen grab below shows how the focus of the works will change over the 58 weeks. I guess at least MEOTRA gets done first although this will take from February to August. As far as I can tell the chestnut trees along Mile End Road are safe, although one tree on the Southern-side of Mile End Rd (near Coborn Street) is due to be felled.

The second screen grab illustrates the expected congestion, not helped of course by the loss of a lane on Burdett Road due to the Crossrail work.

So batten down the hatches, We've 58 weeks of disruption on its way. Lovebox weekend should be even more fun this year.

Sunday, 8 February 2015

David vs Goliath

Many residents may already be familiar with the story of Wickham vs Spiegelhalters, but for those of you who haven't heard it, Ian Nairn in Nairn's London (1966) puts it thus:

"Messrs Wickham, circa 1920, wanted an emporium. Messrs Spiegelhalter, one infers, wouldn't sell out. Messrs Wickham, one infers further, pressed on regardless, thereby putting their Baroque tower badly out of centre. Messrs Spiegelhalter ('The East End Jewellers') remain; two stucco'd storeys, surrounded on both sides by giant columns à la Selfridges. The result is one of the best visual jokes in London, a perennial triumph for the little man, the bloke who won't conform. May he stay there till the Bomb falls."
The Save Spiegelhalters Campaign seeks to preserve this loveable East End shopfront. You can support the campaign by signing the petition at It only takes a few seconds.

Just a few hundred metres east along the road it seems a second monument to the little man is about to take shape. Boris Johnson's Cycle Superhighways aim to transform cycling in London, with one route whisking cyclists all the way from Bow Roundabout to Paddington along segregated cycle lanes. Well there is one exception: a 30 metre patch of this marathon-like route, just beside the Ocean Estate is unsegregated. Why? Well it seems the mighty Boris, Mayor of London and his Goliath TfL are scared of taking on the modern day David that is Lutfur Rahman, Mayor of the Tower Hamlets. All we're talking is a 30m x 2m strip of land.

The unsegregated section lies between the "l" and "n" of "Mile End" in the map above. you might need a magnifying glass.

Art Pavilion: New series of Exhibitions

Residents may be interested in the forthcoming Spring Programme of Exhibitions that has just been announced at the Art Pavilion in Clinton Road, located behind the artistic delight that is the Texaco Garage in Grove Road.

The Art Pavilion is open on most exhibition days from 11am – 7pm.  
Entry to exhibitions is FREE.

14th – 22nd February 2015, Daily 11–7pm

Private View : Friday 13th February 7 – 9pm including a performance by musical artist Catherine Kontz of her opera happening “Twitching”

"Misbehaviour" is a group art exhibition featuring work by artists from Britain, Germany, France, Slovenia, Portugal, New Zealand and the United States and explores responses to the theme of misbehaviour. 

While some artworks are playful responses to the theme of, others explore the dynamics between the financial crisis and the riots, the numbing effect of witnessing international conflict on television or the struggle to conform to behavioural expectations as experienced by people with autism. The exhibition features artworks by the group ArtEast at the Bromley by Bow Community Centre and the community arts project Southbank Mosaics in Lambeth.

The exhibition will be accompanied by a programme of talks, workshops and interactive music/dance. The Bow men's group "The Geezers" will be introducing their current project exploring the effects of the disappearance of pubs and social life in the area.

Between Faith and Art Thursday 5th March – Sunday 29th March 2015, Tuesday to Sunday 11-7pm.  Late opening on Thursdays until 9pm

How relevant is religion today? And how relevant is it for contemporary art? This is a large collaborative show with international artists which focuses on the relevance of religion in our society today, and the relevance of religion in contemporary art expressions and how artists choose to approach the purposely broad umbrella very individually. Launch event on Thursday 5th March as part of the Whitechapel Gallery’s First Thursdays Programme, with a formal opening from 6-9pm. Many of the artists will be present including Norwegian artists Benjamin Ellingsen and Tara Rolfsen and UK based artists Kris Emmerson and Dallas Seitz. In addition, curator Synnove Ellingsen who will perform an excerpt from a performance piece in the directly adjacent Art Park called "Meet Me At Checkpoint Eternity".

PhotoSpeak ‘Changing Faces’  Thursday 16th – Friday 24th April 2015, 11–7pm

 PhotoSpeak 'Changing Faces' is a collection of very special portraits, self portraits and photographs revealing the essence of 15 East London families. taken over 12 weeks by members of those families. A colourful and personal insight into the photographers, their loved ones and their world. 

Due to the vast range of ages taking part in the project we can see clearly and honestly, ways in which our communities have changed through the generations and what it is that truly makes our communities what they are. 

'PhotoSpeak' Changing Faces' was led by Artist Liz Clough, Photographer Jacqueline McCullough and Theatre Practitioner Leanne Mcleish. It was hosted by Community Links and sponsored by the London Legacy Development Corporation and London & Quadrant. 

Initially PhotoSpeak was a project designed by community education specialist Trina Geasley, and aimed to combat issues affecting local women by applying a community education method to the running of a photography project. 

It ran for the first time in 2013. Working with 8 local women, Artist Liz Clough, photographer Jacqueline Mccullough and Community Education Specialist Trina Geasley ran a 10 week project rooted in respect and collaboration between all those involved. It culminated in beautiful photographic portraits of 50 East London women. The beauty of the project was its true representation and celebration of real women in real communities in London, created not by one Artist but by members of those communities. An empowering and unusual method of working and one that has been continued throughout the latest project. 

Conversations took place with over 100 women and their hopes for a future generation were recorded. It was this text that truly illuminated their portraits and touched those who came to see them. 

An exhibition and a book published about the project was officially launched by the London Legacy Development Corporation at their premises in Stratford