Saturday, 7 January 2012
A guest article by a TC reader from Dukinfield
In Portishead near Bristol an experiment was trialled in 2009. The traffic lights at the main Cabstand junction in the town centre, installed in 2004, were removed and replaced by a filtering system. The chronic congestion instantly disappeared, traffic flowed freely and journey times were reduced by up to 50%. This was achieved with no measured reduction in pedestrian safety, despite gretaer numbers using the route. The trial was declared a resounding success and the lights removed permanently. Similar experiments were tried in Bristol with the same success in 2010 but after the trial a permanent decision was deferred.
This type of scheme appears to have passed TMBC by, and their mania for installing traffic lights continues unabated. Traffic lights were originally conceived to regulate the flow of traffic at busy junctions. In some areas they are now being installed as 'traffic calming' or traffic deterrent measures. There is no reason for traffic lights to be left switched on 24/7. In some European countries the lights switch off at off at peak times and revert to amber or similar, meaning equal priority or give way depending on the type of junction. If Volatile and aggressive Italian drivers can cope with this so can British ones, who are amongst the safest in the world.
For those who think traffic volume is the 'reason' for all these extra lights, can they explain why they are left switched on permanently, i.e. when that volume does not exist. In any case traffic volumes plateaued in 2005 (apart from the M60) and have markedly reduced in the last two years.
Traffic lights in many cases now actively CAUSE delay, congestion, pollution, noise, economic harm and environmental damage. At tens of thousands of pounds per set to install they are also extremely expensive.
If Tameside Council are serious about environmental and emissions issues they should be doing everything in their power to keep traffic flowing. In some cases this involves removal of or switching off of, the chronic and unnecessary overabundance of traffic lights in the borough.
Some excellent points raised here and the video is interesting too. The author of this article has witnessed first hand the disruption caused at the Cheetham Hill Road/Ashton Road junction since the installation of what many locals believe to be an unnecessary set of traffic lights. Tameside Citizen