Cyclists in the London borough of Ealing will become part of a traffic-flow experiment this autumn as several junctions ‘go naked’.
Ealing Council plans to remove traffic lights at key junctions to see if congestion can be reduced. If successful, the experiement might continue in other parts of the borough.
Boris Johnson recently voiced his frustration at being stuck at red lights in Ealing and the borough has suffered from severe congestion at peak times.
The junctions to go ‘naked’ are:
Western Road and Montague Way
Twyford Avenue and Creffield Road
Gunnersbury Lane and Bollo Lane
Ealing Cycling Campaign’s co-ordinator David Lomas cycles through the Gunnersbury junction every morning: “That junction never used to have lights, so I'm willing to give it a go and see what happens,” he said.
Tim Gould, Ealing Council’s Transport Project Manager, commented: "People don't like waiting at traffic signals, and signals often don't solve the problems they're meant to.
“We’ll see how it works with the traffic lights out. If it's chaos on the first day we’ll live with it. If it's still bad by day three, chances are we’ll call up Transport for London (TfL) and write it off to experience.”
Not everyone is pleased, however. John Beeston, of Ealing Passenger Transport User Group (EPTUG), said: "This seems like a quick and hasty response to Boris Johnson's complaint.
"The council should go through a period of consultation to see what motorists want, and if money is available to experiment we should install lights where both the motorist and pedestrians are given a countdown timer of when they will change; I'm sure this would see an effective use of the road.
"Far more discussion should take place before permanent measures are taken and a serious injury or fatality occurs."
Mr Gould commented: “It just happens that Boris has said something about traffic lights in Ealing; that was incidental. Boris has his own ideas about smoothing traffic flow and those tie in well with ours.”
The new initiative has won the support of the mayor, who is responsible for all 5,000 traffic lights in the capital, and £200,000 has been allocated for the work.
Plucked from the obscurity of his London commute back in the mid-Nineties to live in Bath and edit bike mags our man made the jump to the interweb back in 2006 as launch editor of a large cycling website somewhat confusingly named after a piece of navigational equipment. He came up with the idea for road.cc mainly to avoid being told what to do… Oh dear, issues there then. Tony tries to ride his bike every day and if he doesn't he gets grumpy, he likes carbon, but owns steel, and wants titanium. When not on his bike or eating cake Tony spends his time looking for new ways to annoy the road.cc team. He's remarkably good at it.