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October 2009 Blog Posts (12)

Lights-off bandwagon

Tomorrow's Sunday Times is covering Bristol's plans to follow Portishead in switching off lights at a number of junctions. It was inevitable that as soon as one trial showed that we're better off left to our own devices, others would follow. The bandwagon is rolling. But as I've said in a piece for the Bristol Evening Post, lights are only the symptom of the underlying cause of our problems on the road: priority. Priority imposes unequal rights, it sets the stage for competitive… Continue

Added by Martin Cassini on October 31, 2009 at 17:30 — No Comments

We pay for the snags in the system

The Guardian has a story about proposals to prosecute parents who "lie" in an effort to get their children into popular schools. Thus is the citizenry criminalised by official bodies who fail to create level playing-fields of high quality. It's the same on the roads. They devise a dysfunctional system of unequal rights, then penalise the people for the malfunctions that follow.

Added by Martin Cassini on October 31, 2009 at 10:39 — No Comments

Another exercise in self-defeat

The use of nitrogen fertilisers to grow diesel from rape seed or ethanol from wheat produces more greenhouse gases than can be saved by using these sources of “clean energy”. Nobel prize winner Paul Crutzen said this in 2007 (reported by Dr Hans Heinrich-Witt in NYT/Observer)

Added by Martin Cassini on October 26, 2009 at 21:58 — No Comments

Bristol campaign

I am tryng to get involved in supporting the Bristol Evening Post's traffic light campaign. On Wednesday on the Avon Ring Road yet another roundabout had a sign put up stating "consultation" from Sth Goucs DC on its proposed new lights. I phoned an officer in the traffic department to challenge the decision. He said it was the politicians who wanted it and rejected my suggestion that politicians are influenced by so-called professionals like him. He was coming out with all the usual propaganda… Continue

Added by Andrew Staton on October 23, 2009 at 19:01 — 1 Comment

Vale of Glamorgan Road Infrastructure Developments

During the summer, I wrote to the Vale of Glamorgan with regard to some road infrastructure changes in the South Wales towns of Penarth and Cowbridge. The questions and answers follow:

What are the traffic flows on Windsor road and why is the road, particularly in the town centre not deemed suitable for “shared space”, when Bristol City Council are planning to follow Ashford and turn Park Street over to “shared space”?

– "Most recent traffic count shows an… Continue

Added by Ian Perry on October 20, 2009 at 10:30 — No Comments

Bernard Shaw on traffic controls

It's unlikely Shaw was thinking of traffic controls, but this is pertinent: "All professions are conspiracies against the laity." Twenty years ago I worked with John Tagholm on a TV proposal called Experts can be bad for you. It challenged the medical, legal and planning professions. For the last ten years, I've challenged traffic 'experts'. Yesterday a traffic engineer suggested I didn't understand the complexities. The complexities of a system you promote? I asked. If the 'experts'… Continue

Added by Martin Cassini on October 17, 2009 at 10:30 — No Comments


Another piece by the Bristol Evening Post (link at end) quotes Councillor David Pasley’s surprise at how well things have gone since the lights were switched off in Portishead. An angry man just posted the following comment (I think he’s angry because he’s been saying this stuff for years, and now, with virtually no reference, and certainly no payment to him, other people are shouting Eureka!). - Not everyone was amazed at the improvements brought about by switching off traffic lights in… Continue

Added by Martin Cassini on October 16, 2009 at 11:33 — 7 Comments

Anti traffic lights campaign spreading

My campaign is spreading, particularly to Bristol. Article here. They still seem to miss the fundamental point about priority, which makes roads dangerous in the first place and produces a "need" for lights - at least it wasn't picked up by anyone else on BBC Radio Bristol this morning where I was asked to appear.

Added by Martin Cassini on October 15, 2009 at 10:10 — No Comments

Poor TfL

News today that BJ might increase the con(gestion) charge because TfL is short of money. The con charge is premature because it was imposed before deregulation was even tried. TfL has 70 managers on salaries of £100,000+. Doing what? Dreaming up more sites for more lights to cause more congestion so they can increase the con charge again. Vile work if you can get it.

Added by Martin Cassini on October 14, 2009 at 22:32 — 4 Comments

Car crash at lights

Cycling through Mayfair last night, I came across the aftermath of an accident at the junction of Park Lane and Upper Brook Street. See photos (taken on phone - sorry about quality). According to witnesses and those involved, the Merc turned right at Brook Gate on a green light, while the Honda Jazz hadn’t seen the lights as it headed south on Park Lane. The Honda hit the Merc and rammed it up the pavement. Bikes and railings were bent. By lucky fluke there were no pedestrians present. When I… Continue

Added by Martin Cassini on October 14, 2009 at 22:30 — No Comments

Trial success spreads

Traffic light de-commissioning in Portishead is "a terrific success" and spreading, not only to the town's two remaining lights - which would make Portishead the UK's first traffic light-free (and congestion-free) town - but to Weston-Super-Mare, where a big switch-off is in prospect, and to roundabouts at M5 exits from Weston to Bristol. This is partly about a successful challenge to 80 years of traffic policy and practice. Meanwhile, the country at large remains in the grip of high-cost… Continue

Added by Martin Cassini on October 9, 2009 at 18:30 — No Comments

It's getting better all the time

Three weeks in, and the lights-off trial at the double junction in Portishead has reduced average journey times for all road-users from 240 to 20 seconds - a drop of 83%, with no adverse safety effects, indeed if anything an improvement. Engineers say it's early days and only demonstrates that no control works at this location. They would, wouldn't they? Extrapolate that 83% of saved time, fuel and emissions across the country, across the decades ..!

Added by Martin Cassini on October 3, 2009 at 12:00 — No Comments

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