So far... Well, I want to say so far so good, but it isn't.
Its better than it was, but I can't help thinking that this misses the point.
The plan for Arbury Road cycle provision was always so incomplete as to make the scheme almost valueless. Seriously, if you're not going to make whole journeys safe then don't bother, I'll hold out for the whole of Arbury Road being done thanks. This short section isn't a staging post towards that - its a staging post towards us being directed off down a side road that might be taking us nowhere near where we actually want to go unless we're making very specific journeys to very specific places. A way for councillors to pretend to give a shit about cyclists without pissing off people who want to continue storing their cars, for free, on the road.
But despite this piss poor plan to fail from the outset, its still worth asking - is this first section in itself good enough?
No. It isn't, Not by a long way.
There are three potentially dangerous sections.
Firstly, if you're heading North towards Kings Hedges Road, you're boned. I mean, literally, you've got to cross multiple lanes of hostile traffic - and they don't hold about there when the lights change, if you're trying to get kids home from the school to Orchard Park you might as well just walk. You hear the car horn sound as I'm trying to get away from the lights? Do you fancy that while riding with your children? No. Of course you don't. There's also no way on to the shared use facility off to the left from there - so if you're heading either way down Kings Hedges Road or straight over on to Orchard Park it doesn't matter, you're abandoned. Complete, absolute, fail. Just don't even bother.
Secondly, you'll notice after I've turned round and come back on to the new section, there's a sort of angled bit, you're not on a ramp taking you down to road level, its also angling to the right - its oddly surfaced. Its relatively smooth but will, when its frosty, be terrifying. Right where the new tarmac starts we will (not might, WILL) see people slide off into the road when we get hard frosts or snow. And its so completely needless. Just make it slope down properly, it isn't that hard.
Third, you can see at the end of the South bound section where I'm heading back to the mini-roundabout, a car driver can more easily cut through the cycle lane than actually use the roundabout as its intended. You can see from the video that I'm wise to whats happening and can moderate my speed - how do you fancy riding home from school with your kids at a spot like that? How many times do you think a parent will put up with that before giving up?
Bluntly there has been little imagination shown here, its good along much of the length of it but at either end it fails catastrophically - and with only the slightest change in thinking this could have been very good. At the South end the mini-roundabout needs to be gone and the transition from cycle lane to road sorting out. As it stands now motorists will do as the guy in the video did - drive straight through the bike lane. Not good enough, it needs re-assessing. Urgently. And at the North end we need an advance light for cyclists leaving the scheme, and simple priority on to cycle facilities on Kings Hedges Road and to Orchard Park - the route needs to be safe for whole journeys, not just as far as the first junction.
Disappointing. It should be great. Its not. I'm left sort of hoping they just give up on the rest of the scheme rather than more of this crap.