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.
Tony has been editing cycling magazines and websites since 1997 starting out as production editor and then deputy editor of Total Bike, acting editor of Total Mountain Bike and then seven years as editor of Cycling Plus. He launched his first cycling website - the Cycling Plus Forum at the turn of the century. In 2006 he left C+ to head up the launch team for Bike Radar which he edited until 2008, when he co-launched the multi-award winning road.cc - which he continues to edit today. His favourite ride is his ‘commute’ - which he does most days inc weekends and he’s been cycle-commuting since 1994. His favourite bikes are titanium and have disc brakes.