Undoubtedly the highlight for the Society’s Transport Group over the past year was our public meeting in January devoted to the hugely challenging issue of parking in and around Harpenden. Following on from a survey undertaken by the HarPark Group, it drew a capacity attendance in High Street Methodist Church hall. The many problems relating to every aspect of car parking were aired but with few concrete solutions proposed, as we reported in the Society’s Winter newsletter. Cllr Teresa Heritage nevertheless proposed the formulation of a definite strategy ‘within a few months’, the essence of which will be awaited with interest though not necessarily optimism.
The Society, along with HarPark representatives, is striving, where possible, to expedite progress through the District and Town Councils. Parking regulations in Harpenden remain in the control of St Albans District Council, at least for the time being. Its Car Parking Working Party says matters should be improved with new officer recruitment, who will implement new systems effectively.
The Thameslink train timetable change of May 2018 was disastrous, but by December had just about reached a tolerable service level. Harpenden Society attended Train User meetings with the operator for the further timetable revision scheduled for May 2019 – when further service improvements are promised.
After irreparable failure of both its venerable Mercedes buses in August 2018, some £70,000 is being invested by the town council in the Harpenden Hopper community bus service, which resumed on April 2. The two new 16-seat Peugeot minibuses will, after consultation with the Harpenden Society and other potential users, serve an additional route from the town centre, via Southdown to Eastmoor Park, as well as the earlier route to the north of the town. At the most recent meeting of St Albans & District Bus Users Forum, the Harpenden Society stressed the need to ensure the active participation of Herts County Council, as the highways authority, in planning the new Katherine Warington School’s twice-daily pupil transport facilities, for children having to travel from outside as well as through the town.