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Colin James

Lights Out Campaign Letter

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We had a presentation to the Council with the help of Councillor Jim Kenyon last December, which was discussed in our

Traffic Lights Out Meeting topic here, since this time we have been working on our mission statement etc. The following letter was sent out to the Hereford Cabinet a few weeks ago but we have not received a response at all.

(I have also attached it in PDF format)

 

Good Morning Cllrs,
 
The sun was shining last week, which I hope is a good omen for our approach to you!
 
Let me explain who we are and what our aim is.
 
We are a loose group of disparate Herefordians completely fed up with the constant congestion and unfriendly state of our roads for all road users (motorists, cyclists and pedestrians alike) who would very much like to look at the possibility of undergoing a trial to switch the traffic lights off along the A49 Hereford City central corridor (in effect, Edgar Street and Victoria St).
 
This would ideally mean switching the traffic lights off initially at 4 junctions. These would be, from North to South, the signals on the Steels/Tesco Roundabout, the Victoria/Eign St slip road junction that serves Whitecross, the Barton Rd/St Nicholas St Junction by the top of the New Bridge and the Belmont/Asda Junction at the bottom of the New Bridge where the A49 and A465 split.
 
This may seem a mad and original idea but it is neither of those. In the UK the towns of Poynton and Portishead are testament to the success of the implementation of the principles of 'Shared Space' and the removal of traffic signals. On the Continent the bigger towns of Drachten in the Netherlands (44,629 pop) and Bohmte in Germany (12,706) have removed their traffic lights with an average of (from my own rough maths I must admit) a 80-90% reduction in accidents (accidents being the subject that naturally seems to be foremost in the minds of Councillors and road planners when this approach is first proposed for their consideration). Congestion has also been reduced considerably with waiting times in traffic reduced by at least 50%.
 
We had a meeting with Jesse Norman and members of the Highway's Agency in early Dec where we, with the help of traffic campaigner Martin Cassini, put our case for a trial to the Highway's Agency. We approached them first because the A49 is the responsibility of the HA and we could not
proceed without them at least agreeing to consider a trial. They agreed to look into the possibility of such a trial. We agreed, during a conference call with Keith Firth of SKM Transport http://uk.linkedin.com/pub/keith- firth/1a/882/44a that a computer simulated trial would be the first step in this process. Jesse Norman and the HA agreed that they would look at carrying or procuring funding for the cost of said simulation. If this numbers crunched on the micro-simulation (used in Poynton first before the scheme there was implemented) we could then look at a real life trial.
 
I appreciate most of you are aware of the idea of Shared Space, since it is something you are hoping to implement along Newmarket Street in time, so I won't try and teach Grandma to suck eggs. And rather than attempt to skew or convert you to our point of view I will simply leave you with the Wikipedia entry on Shared Space which you can navigate and research further yourselves if you feel inclined
 
After our meeting with The HA we then approached Hereford City
Council as a precursor to our approach to you. What we would ask you now, Cabinet members of the Herefordshire Council, respectfully, is for the opportunity to come and present our idea for a trial to you (the Cabinet or Planning Committee) in person to see if this is a project we can win your support for! Without your support it is very unlikely that the HA would proceed with a trial.
 
We have no hidden agenda on this, we think this should be and remain a non party political issue. We simply want to try something new in Hereford (without precluding the other options for traffic relief considered by the Council) relatively quickly and painlessly, which might benefit our city enormously. On the other hand, we may find during the simulation process that this approach would not work in Hereford.
 
Thank you very much for your time and consideration.
 
Regards,
 
Colin James, John Llewellyn-Perkins, Amanda Martin and John Harrington
Hereford Reunited Group

Cllrs Lights Out Letter.pdf

 

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This letter was sent to all Herefordshire Councillors by John, I have responded stating my support.

 

Yes, I did see thanks Glenda your support is very much appreciated.  :Thumbs-Up: 

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A well written letter and well explained too, I am totally behind this campaign and the sooner the HA and or Herefordshire Council are the better! They have NOTHING TO LOOSE lets give the lights out a trial, I have always supported Colin's initial idea and now you have formed this group even better!

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This would ideally mean switching the traffic lights off initially at 4 junctions. These would be, from North to South, the signals on the Steels/Tesco Roundabout, the Victoria/Eign St slip road junction that serves Whitecross, the Barton Rd/St Nicholas St Junction by the top of the New Bridge and the Belmont/Asda Junction at the bottom of the New Bridge where the A49 and A465 split.

 

 

Two observations here ...

 

1. Northbound traffic in the right lane of the bridge trying to get a right turn into St. Nicholas Street would have to take pot luck with the free flowing southbound traffic entering the bridge. Compounded by restricted views caused by cars turning tight into Barton Road. The junction is already a headache for shunts so that would never happen. Probably got the potential for a crash as well for unrestricted right turns into Barton Road.

 

2. Free flowing slip road traffic into Whitecross Road, which is cutting across northbound A49 traffic, seems to be an accident waiting to happen. I see the letter does not suggest suggesting turning off the northbound A49 light by Steels so traffic entering Whitecross Road will have to take a chance with northbound cars either speeding up before the light goes red. Or chancing it as they go green. There was a nasty fatal accident at that very junction a few years ago with a combination of a vehicle going into Whitecross with a northbound A49 vehicle so I can't see that ever happening either. Sorry I can't immediately see a news link to that one. 

 

But I generally accept when all the lights go out then everything seems to work better! 

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Two observations here ...

 

1. Northbound traffic in the right lane of the bridge trying to get a right turn into St. Nicholas Street would have to take pot luck with the free flowing southbound traffic entering the bridge. Compounded by restricted views caused by cars turning tight into Barton Road. The junction is already a headache for shunts so that would never happen. Probably got the potential for a crash as well for unrestricted right turns into Barton Road.

 

2. Free flowing slip road traffic into Whitecross Road, which is cutting across northbound A49 traffic, seems to be an accident waiting to happen. I see the letter does not suggest suggesting turning off the northbound A49 light by Steels so traffic entering Whitecross Road will have to take a chance with northbound cars either speeding up before the light goes red. Or chancing it as they go green. There was a nasty fatal accident at that very junction a few years ago with a combination of a vehicle going into Whitecross with a northbound A49 vehicle so I can't see that ever happening either. Sorry I can't immediately see a news link to that one. 

 

But I generally accept when all the lights go out then everything seems to work better! 

 

We all passed our driving test didn't we? It's called giving way its never an issue when the lights break down so I don't see it being an issue if a trail goes ahead.

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We all passed our driving test didn't we? It's called giving way its never an issue when the lights break down so I don't see it being an issue if a trail goes ahead.

 

I think when lights are generally 'out/broken' people are extra careful. Just my experience ... If it was the norm, and people knew that, then eventually there will be a crunch that a light would have avoided. 

 

But I'm as frustrated by the amount of traffic lights in Hereford as anyone else ... 

Edited by Roger

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I think when lights are generally 'out/broken' people are extra careful. Just my experience ... If it was the norm, and people knew that, then eventually there will be a crunch that a light would have avoided. 

 

But I'm as frustrated by the amount of traffic lights in Hereford as anyone else ... 

 

This is our whole point Roger! When the lights are out, yes your right, people tend to slow down and look at what is going on around them, lets hope that the decision makers see this idea as an example which has been proven to work in other towns and grasp it with both hands!

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Reported on radio Hereford and Worcester around 3 to 4 pm the traffic lights were out!!

Specifically which ones was not reported.

What was it like - any one know?

Herefordshire council said they were working to get them on again.

It's awash with lights now they've sprung up like rabbits round Newmarket Street and the Boulevard.  Doesn't bode well for switching them off/getting rid!

 

Good luck Hereford Reunited. 

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Reported on radio Hereford and Worcester around 3 to 4 pm the traffic lights were out!!

Specifically which ones was not reported.

What was it like - any one know?

Herefordshire council said they were working to get them on again.

It's awash with lights now they've sprung up like rabbits round Newmarket Street and the Boulevard.  Doesn't bode well for switching them off/getting rid!

 

Good luck Hereford Reunited. 

 

There are plenty of recording and reports of perfectly flowing traffic when the lights are out! Here is one from last year

 

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No the problem is there are road works at the Callow that will take 6 weeks and there is congestion, so both the A49 Ross road and the A465 Belmont road are now congested every day.

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Glenda, when did they start? Because I was in and out of Ross via the Callow over the weekend and didn't see any

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In reply to Rogers post

1. Northbound traffic in the right lane of the bridge trying to get a right turn into St. Nicholas Street would have to take pot luck with the free flowing southbound traffic entering the bridge. Compounded by restricted views caused by cars turning tight into Barton Road. The junction is already a headache for shunts so that would never happen. Probably got the potential for a crash as well for unrestricted right turns into Barton Road.

All this needs here is the removal of traffic lights and the installation of a roundabout.

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I posted this on another thread.....yesterday, staff from Sainsburys had to Marshall vehicles out of the car park....it was complete gridlock at 3pm.

A member of staff said the traffic lights at the top, White cross Road/Aldi/Sainsbury, were not working correctly, and they thought there was also an issue with the sequencing of the lights at the bottom of White cross Road@ Steels.

It was chaos!

Hope that info helps, Magic!!

Edited by dippyhippy

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It took someone i know one and a half hours to get from Rotherwas up to Newton farm yesterday was it because the lights were out ?

 

This was because of roadworks nothing to do with the lights and the lights were only out for less than an hour so definitely not the cause

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This was because of roadworks nothing to do with the lights and the lights were only out for less than an hour so definitely not the cause

 

 

I can confirm that there are roadworks at the industrial end of Rotherwas, however, for me, the extreme gridlocked traffic started after the Wye Inn, which was well after the roadworks.

 

I believe the problem there was that the A49 N was gridlocked so there was no where for traffic coming down holme lacy road to go and it just backed up - as it did past grafton

Edited by Biomech

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Good letter and you have my support on this campaign. Traffic in Hereford is a nightmare! I think it will get a lot worse when the new shopping centre finally opens too.

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