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Colin James

Hereford Traffic 'Lights Out' Meeting

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Sounding good so far!

I really don't think we have anything to lose - what we have at present is pretty chaotic.

Martin,out of interest, the other cities that have implemented this shared space idea, do they already have bypasses in place?

I ask this because of the sheer volume that passes through - does the amount of traffic make a marked difference as to how a scheme such as this would work?

Sorry to bombard you with questions on your first post,but I am really interested in this!

 

Oh! And where are my manners??? Welcome to the site!!!

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I think the name needs to focus on traffic lights out being the main objective together with shared space somehow. I have a few suggestions;

 

Fluid Hereford

Traffic Lights Out (keeping it simple)

Give Up The Stop

 

Just my two pence worth.

 

Great campaign and it is fantastic to have Martin Cassini involved, I have been reading up on the various successful campaigns with great interest. Some strong local campaigners named here so keep up the fight people!

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what about Hereford Lights Forum (HLF)

 

We have already had that one Cllr. Currently we are Lights Out Group (LOG) we are open to more creative names but it is not urgent, please keep your idea's coming, while I work on a logo.

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dippyhippy: shared space, or Equality Streets as I call it, can be seen as an alternative to a bypass. If you've seen the video, you'll know Poynton has no bypass. The redesigned junction - single lane approaches, double the "living room" for walkers and cyclists, no traffic lights, no special speed limits, no road markings - puts all road-users in a better frame of mind, and copes far more safely and efficiently with the high volumes of traffic than the old signal-controlled multi-lane system did. Traffic moves slowly but continuously. It is free to disperse naturally. Humans interact with each other instead of obeying a system of external control. Volume of traffic is the right reason for being held up: leaving a rock concert or race meeting, you accept slow progress as a fact of life. Everyone is in the same boat. What makes you see red is a traffic light that usurps your judgement, makes you stop when you could go, defies commonsense, and denies infinite filtering opportunities and expressions of fellow feeling.

 

Re the campaign name: thanks to hostile roads and an alienating traffic control system, Hereford is disunited from different parts of itself, and Its inhabitants are disunited from each other. Hereford Reunited expresses the delightful, realistic prospect of a unifying, inclusive solution.

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I would like to add my vote for Hereford Reunited. It reflects the idea that the north and south of the city are essentially cut off from each other for several hours per day by an iron curtain of traffic with no alternative traffic route between north/south. Solving the traffic congestion would indeed re-unite the city.

Edited by Jonny

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Morning all: We had a very good meeting on Friday when a disparate bunch of Herefordians told the Highways Agency we were fed up with the ridiculous never ending traffic problems that blight our daily lives. The solutions they have applied (the HA) don't seem to be working and have caused disproportional disruption and bad feeling in relation to any evident benefits. The only improvement of any value, I personally feel, has been the implementation of the new updated Scoot system which has eased congestion somewhat along Edgar St (southbound) at certain times of the day (although at the end of last week that seemed to be less the case as traffic on Newmarket St and Edgar Street seemed to snarl up again. And Belmont Rd is still the absolute nightmare it ever was).

So what do we do? Well, we moan and whine and whinge a bit and then grin and bear it mostly...but it doesn't have to be entirely like that. It's easy to be disheartened and cynical about Hereford traffic and the City in general when our officials (elected and otherwise) don't seem to have a clue or a care about what they are doing as they set about helping (or allowing) the City to degrade into a mess. Quite a few of us have been looking at different ways to make traffic work more effectively on the existing road network in the City. Colin has been campaigning for several years to get the Belmont/Asda lights switched off and is equally determined that removing the traffic lights on Steels/Tesco Roundabout will work too. We independently came to that conclusion too (as a way of saving the Edgar Street trees initially), as have many of you too, sitting in traffic over the years, wondering why the hell it has to be like this! So we've all decided it would be a good idea to work together to ask the Highways Agency to trial removing the lights by first modelling (as in expensive supercomputers) the traffic flow to see if removing the lights would work and then actually physically switching them off for a trial. If it doesn't work it doesn't work but it can be no worse than what we've had to put up with so far. And the little evidence we have so far (Martin's traffic expert crunched a few numbers before the meeting on Friday) seems to suggest that removing the lights on Steels/Tesco Roundabout would work and should ease congestion. Which is not entirely surprising as both roundabouts managed quite well for many years as roundabouts rather than, effectively, junctions.

We think for the principle of Lights Out to work really well (or to allow us to examine properly whether or not it will in any case) the lights need to be switched off from Belmont/Asda all the way to Steels/Tesco Roundabout, including the Barton Rd/St Nicholas Street junctions and the Eign Street/Victoria St slip. 

It sounds mad but this is where prominent national campaigners like Martin Cassini come in. They have overseen the implementation of Lights Out/Shared Space schemes in several parts of the UK and they know that in the majority of cases it not only works  (dispute enormous official resistance and doubt) but makes travelling pleasant once more for many. Pleasant for motorists who keep moving in the new system, even if it's slowly at peak hours, rather than sitting seething in stationary traffic. Pleasant for cyclists who are shown more courtesy and goodwill. And pleasant for pedestrians who are able to cross roads more easily in more places because motorists and other road users are taking more personal responsibility for their actions on the road rather than (wittingly or unwittingly) allowing the traffic robots to dictate their every action.One thing that worried the HA engineers we spoke to was the concern for safety. Engineers are naturally cautious (and mindful of litigation perhaps). We pointed out that in every instance were Lights Out/Shared Space was trialled or permanently implemented accidents went down dramatically. This the same in the UK and more so in Germany and the Netherlands were two entire towns removed all their traffic lights.

Amanda Martin, whilst giving the HA engineers the same tough love she gave Cllr Johnson in the Kindle Centre, pressed the HA in the same meeting for more cycling funding for Hereford (where the road responsibility lies with the Highways Agency, ie/the A49 central corridor including Edgar St). They seemed prepared to look at that if trials for Lights Out went ahead. This rational is based on mutually related points. More cyclists means less motorists and less congestion, less congestion means more road space for the provision of cycle lanes. Safer better roads means that people who are keen to cycle can do so safely, not just for fitness or pleasure but to make routine trips around town they would normally prefer to do in a car for worry of safety and air pollution as they try and wend their way around the City centre.      

Jesse Norman attended the meeting as the Highways Agency are a central government body and he is our MP. He was very enthusiastic and supportive of the idea.

He and the Highways Agency pointed out though that for this to go ahead (the trial) we would need to encourage the support of City and County Councillors as many of the side roads are Council responsibility and naturally a scheme of this scale, involving the centre of the city, would need support from our elected representatives, as well as the public.

So that's what we are aiming for. A good debate, as many Councillors (of any denomination) onboard and a willingness for all parties to consider at least trying to see if this would work.

The benefits are: it can be trialled relatively quickly (as opposed to the Cabinet's stated desire for a by pass or the City Link Rd), it requires no new roads or signals and is relatively inexpensive therefore by comparison to traditional approaches. Finally, it might work!

As an aside, Martin is looking for a city to go completely naked (calm down Bobby47) for a prospective national TV programme about the benefits of the Lights Out/Shared Space philosophy. Could be Hereford. Might be nice, although, being Herefordians (naturally cynical and sarky) we're not going to admit that.

Lobby your senator!...as they say...or e-mail your councillor.

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Brilliant post John!

A really inforfmative and useful read.

As I said previously, what we have at present is no more than organised chaos - its time to think a little differently.

We have absolutelt nothing to lose, but perhaps an awful lot to gain.

All power to you!

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And Martin, almost forgot, absolutely LOVE E-Quality Street!

Brilliant!

I can see where your coming from with the whole Hereford Re-United thing, I guess my only reservation would be that if folk saw this name at a glance, their first thought would be that the group was something to do with the football team - it kind of associates itself with that, whereas Lights Out! does what it says on the tin.

I'm sure somebody will come up with something brilliant!

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John, welcome to the forum and many thanks for this post and the work you and others are doing. I do hope that good things come from it - an initiative by individuals (as a group) carries a deal more credibility in the community than anything the Council might try and foist on us. Key points are that it can be trialled quickly and at next to no cost - as you say, nothing lost if it doesn't work. 

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Look, I like Colin James. As far as Im concerned Colin James is a good lad and I'll fight anyone in a battle cruiser who says otherwise but, you are dealing with the Hereford Council here. Strangers to success. Years and years of years unblemished by any form of achievement and they'll never turn off those bloody lights.

Colin James is a lovely lad, so are his family, his ancestors and his descendants yet to be born but Im telling you all now that this bloody Council will never cave in to anything associated with common sense. It ain't going to happen and anyone who thinks otherwise is someone who's beer glass is half full. Never! They'll never do it. Not while I've got lungs to inhale my tobacco smoke and I've got teeth to bite my way through pork rind. Never! And the sooner you all get used to the fact that this bloody Council will completely ignore Colin's crusade the better it is for me, my eczema and anyone out there who's as bewildered as I am.

Never! It'll not happen.

And just to show how confident I am, if Colin does succeed, I'll donate £20 pound sterling to Hereford Voice and enclosed with this financial instrument, namely a bloody cheque, will be a photograph of me naked sat on my chair nibbling Scratchings whilst trying to restrain my wife who understandably can't keep her hands off me.

A rash promise Bobby :-)    

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Thanks diphip but please note it's Equality Streets (plural). Given equality instead of priority, i.e. streets that express a social context as distinct from a traffic engineering one, we could dispense with most traffic regulation. Lights-out works on a macro as well as micro scale. Never have I seen London streets less congested than when power cuts put signals out across the entire central area (Nov 2007 and Feb 2008). Never was it more pleasant to walk, cycle or drive in our capital city normally disfigured and divided by one expensive traffic light after another. Even cab drivers were smiling and giving way to cyclists and people on foot. The red light makes us see red. The green light licenses neglect, encourages dangerous speeds. No-lights lets us rediscover our humanity. It allows us to interact in a frame of mind of relaxed alert. The only losers would be the traffic engineers and managers, and the traffic control manufacturers and salesmen who operate to society's detriment. 

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Thanks diphip but please note it's Equality Streets (plural). Given equality instead of priority, i.e. streets that express a social context as distinct from a traffic engineering one, we could dispense with most traffic regulation. Lights-out works on a macro as well as micro scale. Never have I seen London streets less congested than when power cuts put signals out across the entire central area (Nov 2007 and Feb 2008). Never was it more pleasant to walk, cycle or drive in our capital city normally disfigured and divided by one expensive traffic light after another. Even cab drivers were smiling and giving way to cyclists and people on foot. The red light makes us see red. The green light licenses neglect, encourages dangerous speeds. No-lights lets us rediscover our humanity. It allows us to interact in a frame of mind of relaxed alert. The only losers would be the traffic engineers and managers, and the traffic control manufacturers and salesmen who operate to society's detriment. 

 

You are absolute correct and I love your passionate description. Welcome to HV Martin it is really nice to have you onboard.

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Colin came up with Equal Rights No Lights, which perhaps sounds even better as No Lights Equal Rights - as strong a contender to my mind as Hereford Reunited. What do others think? Amanda, we're looking forward to your input so get thee to the registry! 

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Colin came up with Equal Rights No Lights, which perhaps sounds even better as No Lights Equal Rights - as strong a contender to my mind as Hereford Reunited. What do others think? Amanda, we're looking forward to your input so get thee to the registry! 

Personally, I prefer No Lights Equal Rights it's more descriptive of your objectives, agree with you Martin on this one.

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I see. I get what's going on. Not content with getting Martin Cassini on board, Colin's now got John Harrington and the mighty Amanda Martin sat by his side.

Well it doesn't scare me. Never has and never will. Just because Amanda Martin can frighten the life out of the startled and poorly equipped Johnson and Morgan, it won't bother me. Never!

I stand by my pledge that this gathering of incompetent bungling idiots, namely our Counci Cabinet, will never do anything that is based upon commonsense and rational thinking. They've thus far, avoided any contact with success and a positive outcome and I see no reason to believe theyll ever change their Modus Operandi. Why should I become wobbled because Colin James has recruited some serious thinkers. Not at all!

In fact, Im going to start my own campaign demanding the lights stay on and, whatsmore, to frighten the Council back into their burrows, Im going to demand some Habeas Corpus, Compos Mentis and some Mens Rea. There's nothing like a bit of bloody Latin to highlight the real issues behind this codswallop which are, I ain't got twenty quid and my wife actually hates my fat face.

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I see. I get what's going on. Not content with getting Martin Cassini on board, Colin's now got John Harrington and the mighty Amanda Martin sat by his side.

Well it doesn't scare me. Never has and never will. Just because Amanda Martin can frighten the life out of the startled and poorly equipped Johnson and Morgan, it won't bother me. Never!

I stand by my pledge that this gathering of incompetent bungling idiots, namely our Counci Cabinet, will never do anything that is based upon commonsense and rational thinking. They've thus far, avoided any contact with success and a positive outcome and I see no reason to believe theyll ever change their Modus Operandi. Why should I become wobbled because Colin James has recruited some serious thinkers. Not at all!

In fact, Im going to start my own campaign demanding the lights stay on and, whatsmore, to frighten the Council back into their burrows, Im going to demand some Habeas Corpus, Compos Mentis and some Mens Rea. There's nothing like a bit of bloody Latin to highlight the real issues behind this codswallop which are, I ain't got twenty quid and my wife actually hates my fat face.

 

bobby you do make me smile  :tongue_32:

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Personally, I prefer No Lights Equal Rights it's more descriptive of your objectives, agree with you Martin on this one.

 

Yep - I like that no lights equal rights very catchy and an ideal name in my opinion.

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Okay folks we now have a group name, we will be officially known as  'No Lights Equal Rights' Group. Thank you for all your kind suggestions, now down to business...

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Looking through YouTube for videos about shared space and turning off traffic lights and came up with this compilation. Starting off with a series of videos about Hereford that I don't ever recount seeing before.

 


Shared Space. A new future for Hereford. Ben Hamillton-Baillie talks about the principals of 

Shared Space and the impact that it has on modern cities across Europe. This forms part of 

the plans being proposed by ESG Herefordshire for the regeneration of Hereford City

 


The challenge for the regeneration of Hereford. ESG Herefordshire shows the public its 

proposal for the connectivity of the Edgar Street grid area. Design experts Kelvin Campbell, 

Chris Oakley and Ben Hamilton-Baillie talk about transforming the inner ring road into a 

pedestrian friendly tree-lined boulevard.

 


Graphic animation of the proposal for the Widemarsh Street junction with Newmarket and 

Blueschool St in Hereford. It shows real-time movements from 1700 in the day. Animation by 

Crowd Dynamics.

 

Turning off traffic lights


The result of switching off the traffic signals

 


See how much better the traffic flows when the traffic lights are turned off. Torquay Council, 

The Mayor and Police all take note. There is no reason why the lights cannot be turned off 

permanently

 


No traffic lights? no cops directing traffic? pushyist driver gains? No problem. This is a free for 

all India style of driving where nobody hits anybody. Take a drive around Virginia Beach at the 

end of the Nor'Ida (Nov09 nor'easter) when the traffic lights are out.. Hey, I found this pretty 

damn enjoyable as traffic seemed to flow better without time wasted waiting at dead lights.

 


One way to cut the electric bills and help cut the $5Trillion public sector deficit is to switch off 

traffic lights that are on during the night, when they don't need to be as there's so little traffic 

around during that time at many junctions. It will also have the benefit of helping traffic flow, 

and cut pollution from having to stop / start the car at junctions that need not be controlled at 

night time.

 

Understanding the principles of Shared Space



 


Shared spaces or shared zones, which involves removing the traditional distinction between 

footpath and road so vehicles and pedestrians can share the space, is transforming Auckland 

(New Zealand) streets and open spaces into vibrant, people-friendly urban destinations.

 

Other examples of shared space around the world


A community in decline, divided by decades of anti-social traffic engineering, is reunited and 

revitalised by streetscape redesign

 


 


'Shared space' seeks to change the 'mental maps' that drivers create and alert them to a 

different environment in which pedestrians and cyclists have equal priority. The keys to this 

are low speeds, a narrow carriageway and the removal of the typical visual clues for drivers, 

such as information signs and pedestrian guard railing.

 


Free-flowing pedestrian and traffic flows along this busy suburban arterial route into Bern. 

illustrates the potential for improving pedestrian flows where a low-speed traffic environment 

has been created. Road carries over 20,000 vehicles per day. First three years of this and 

similar schemes have seen traffic flows improve, pedestrian delays reduced and significant 

improvements in accident rates. All former signal-controlled pedestrian crossings were 

removed. Ben Hamilton-Baillie and Fritz Kobi

 


 


In the German town of Bohmte, the highway code has been abolished in order to create a 

common code for car drivers, cyclists and pedestrians.

 


The Sun Rock Place was converted after conversion to a "shared space". No road signs. 

Everyone needs to be considerate of other road users.

 

And to finish some humour:


A short vide on on how to trigger a traffic light on your bike, using the power of metal and 

"inductive loop detectors!".

 


The Highways Agency National Anthem. Also chanted by some councillors in Herefordshire 

Council.

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Isn't Ben Hamilton Baillie an award winning architect?? /Street and City designer??

He was very involved for a while.

Not sure why his involvement ended,but I am guessing that if he was advocating a shared space scheme back then,that might have something to do with it!

Edited by dippyhippy

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Sorry, I was a little quick off the mark, we are almost decided on this name but we are leaving it open just a little longer before we make a final decision and it's official. May have the name Hereford in it?

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Wahey!

At last a fellow poster without a clue which buttons to press!

I just knew there had to be another one!

John, welcome to my world!

 

Colin, at the risk of stating the obvious...Hereford-Lights Out Equal Rights Group??

Anything much longer and it won't fit on a T-Shirt!!

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megilliland: I asked Cllr Graham Powell (who was the Cabinet Member with the Portfolio for Highways and Transportation at the time about this). I asked specifically about Ben Hamilton-Baillie's plans for Broad St and King St which the Council had commissioned him to look at/quote for revamp and full Shared Space type treatment and he said they decided it wasn't value for money.

 

As regards the ESG and the Newmarket vids I can only presume post 2008 the developers also decided (especially as no one had asked them to sign a Section 106 making sure they were responsible for infrastructure improvements) they didn't want to spend the money.

 

One of the things we said to Councillor Price in our last ditch attempt meeting (to avoid cutting the trees down) was why have you employed Ben, embraced his and others ideas for Newmarket and Broad St etc but in the next breath are telling us we're mad if "you think I'm going to be standing there on Monday morning ready to flick the switch for the traffic lights to go off you got another thing coming, people just won't give way to each other and it will be a mess"? 

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