I was interested to read your correspondent Jim Goodman’s views on the congestion at the traffic lights at the South Cliff end of the Valley Bridge.
Jim points out that congestion occurs when traffic wanting to go across the bridge into town is unable to proceed, even though they have a green traffic light for their lane because the road is partially blocked by traffic wanting to turn right but held on a red light. This, as Jim points out, is because the road is not wide enough to accommodate two lanes of traffic, particularly if one of them is a bus, and suggests widening the road by taking some width off the footpath, although it would have to extend some way up Ramshill to accommodate all the traffic concerned and work satisfactorily, none the less it all makes good sense to me.
Problem; the whole idea is to restrict traffic movement and deter motorists from driving into town and to use the park & ride instead. Nobody could ‘design’ a traffic system like Scarborough has unless that was the intended result.
Jim may not remember but before we had the park & ride and all the attendant traffic lights, the junction in question did not have traffic lights, and there was no congestion.
Why? Because drivers used common sense and the rules in the Highway Code and turned right when it was safe to do so, filtering one at a time when a gap in the oncoming traffic permitted, so avoiding the queues that inevitably form at traffic lights. In fact when these traffic lights were first introduced drivers could turn right on a common green light for both lanes, using the common sense just described, the same common sense and judgment that thousands of us use everyday turning right into and out of junctions.
The present right turn arrow, which without doubt is safe means of control, since it stops traffic on the opposing Ramshill bound carriageway of Valley Bridge, at the expense of more delays and congestion of course, and gives priority to the traffic in question turning right.
This change was only introduced after a collision involving a vehicle carrying out this right turn manoeuvre without due care. Imagine the chaos if every time there was a ‘driver error’ collision we had to have, or change the traffic light sequence?
Let’s not forget these traffic lights are to give the park & ride bus priority. The intention was that since the buses have a system to change the lights in their favour as they approach them, they would be able to keep moving with minimum delay. The problem is that they have to be close enough to the lights and without a queue of stationary traffic at the lights for the system to work as intended.
The fact that for the most part the same traffic lights that are supposed to help the bus, cause the congestion that in turn hold it up, seems to have conveniently got lost.
I would say to Mr Goodman “Good idea but don’t hold your breath.”