Green light for traffic switch?

Cllr Andrew Backhouse
Cllr Andrew Backhouse

SCARBOROUGH motorists driven to despair by the town’s traffic network could see new light at the end of the tunnel.

Scarborough Council bosses are poring over plans to switch off traffic lights at night to reduce congestion and cut electricity costs.

The move would take effect outside peak hours and includes proposals to amend the 24- hour lights at the Park and Ride site in Seamer Road.

The facility is only open during the day.

Under the plans, the lights would be switched off between 10pm and 6am.

If deemed a positive solution, the proposal could be rolled out across further routes in Scarborough.

Cllr Andrew Backhouse, Scarborough Council’s cabinet member for highways and transport, has instigated a report into the potential changes after concerns were raised at the unnecessary disruption caused by signals.

Cllr Backhouse said: “The traffic lights were installed at the park and ride to ensure the buses had free-flow.

“When they aren’t running, why have them on?

“It’s not rocket science.

“How many times do you sit in traffic lights in the middle of the night and they change to red and you think ‘there’s no-one coming?’.

“The idea is to have some of the lights turned off in the downtime - for example between 10pm and 6am.

“The lights are there to control traffic movement in busy times of the day.

“We have got the computer technology now to manage these lights so lets turn them off when it isn’t busy.”

The move will also target environmental benefits, with a reduction in carbon emissions as drivers will not have to needlessly stop and start journeys.

Cllr Backhouse added: “It will certainly reduce emissions because there are less lights illuminating at night.

“There will be a reduction in electricity costs, however it will only be small as they still have to be linked to computer control hubs.

“It’s the convenience saving that needs to be balanced.”

Cllr Norman Murphy, a previous critic of the Park and Ride scheme, also welcomed the proposals for the Seamer Road site.

He added: “Right from the start it was crystal clear that the Park and Ride system and the area around it was wrong and we should have investigated ways to improve it.

“This is definitely better late than never and I am all for anything to improve it.

“If we can do something to make it better then I am all for that.”