The Luton Dunstable Busway with its cycle track has now settled down and the surface has improved. I see it as a really positive feature of our town and it certainly brings alternative transport options. However, it’s not perfect and here are a few of my ‘wish list’ thoughts:
Two points here. When you get to the Luton end of the cycle track, where do you go? There are no signs showing how to connect with the nearby NCN6 which is a lovely cycle path and goes to Harpenden. What would it take for the Busway cycle track to become a National Cycle Network route? Cycling through the Railway Station concourse (is that too grand a word for Luton?) is something I do and often wonder if it’s allowed as I mingle with buses and coaches.
The second signage point is the complete lack of anything on the Busway itself for cyclists and walkers. It would be welcome and helpful to have a few signs showing how far it is to various points, Luton, Dunstable, the hospital etc. There are signs for the bus passengers but these are not visible for those using the cycle track.
2. Safety barriers
I have blogged, moaned and complained about the Hatters Way stretch in Luton, especially the narrow part by the bridge support. I just don’t understand why Luton Borough Council cannot erect a barrier or a fence of some kind to prevent cyclists falling on to the busway here. You can see in the photograph below there is a fence further along but that it where the track is much wider. All they have done is paint a yellow line along the edge and put up some ‘give way’ signs – while these are useful touches, they do not address the problem. This is the most risky part of the entire track in my view. Overall I think the fences along Hatters Way are not for the benefit of cyclists and unless there is some technical reason preventing this, I’d say fixing this should be a priority.
3. Access points
One of the points of ridicule has been the A frame barriers which are difficult and awkward to negotiate. These are apparently designed to allow legitimate users to pass through and keep motorcyclists out. The trouble is, these simply do not work and annoy people.
In fairness to Luton Borough Council, they are looking at modifying some of these to make them more user-friendly but there is still a bigger issue. Comical stories of cars finding themselves on the Busway with flat tyres has caused much local interest and at one point LBC was renting an illuminated sign (said to cost £600 a week) to discourage lost motorists from entering. In spite of that, you have some entrances such as Great Northern Road, in Dunstable, where I have seen a motorcyclist (a scallywag without a helmet) go past the car trap and up the slope on the right, straight onto the cycle track. It was so easy for him to do it.
We note also that the construction of a further path or cycle track is underway. This runs from the end of Half Moon Lane in Dunstable through to joint the cycle track near the Jeans Way bus stop. This will be helpful for a number of people. Hopefully lessons learnt to date can be applied here?
So we have all these awkward barriers to pass through and I’ll be pleased to see how this is dealt with in the future.
The quality of the surface is what people have moaned about the most and I completely agree. However, it has greatly improved over the winter and only a few sections remain where it is unacceptably stony.
5. Some information please!
I think there are some points of interest for cycle track users and it wouldn’t hurt if some suitable signs were erected. These could include saying something about the various sculptures, where new trees have been planted, the Site of Special Scientific Interest of Blow’s Downs and there must be some on the Luton side as well. There are many points of interest, especially on the Dunstable side.
You could go a little further and have a Welcome sign too. Either to the Busway itself or to Luton and Dunstable towns and perhaps a diagram or illustrated map showing how it all fits together. All of these smaller touches help finish off the project and bring a little connection with local people and sense of communal ownership. Giving credit to the many volunteers who have planted trees and hedges would probably be appreciated by those who have given their time.