Traffic lights cause needless pollution and frustration

OUR Environment department pays lip service to being green and eco-friendly, yet they persist in at least one area of needless pollution and frustration for users.

I’ll take just one example out of many and that is the St Clair Hill traffic lights. You drive down Vale Road towards Route Militaire and the traffic lights turn red. You stop and note that no one has pressed the pedestrian lights and no vehicle comes from Baubigny. The lights change and off you go. So you have been stopped for no reason, you’ve braked and brake dust and tyre rubber has gone into the atmosphere and into the drain which runs to a watercourse, your exhaust has been polluting the atmosphere but, more especially, as you move off and accelerate up the hill more than would have been the case had you not stopped, the neighbours have suffered more noise than was necessary, you’ve used more fuel, you’ve used more clutch, more brake material, more rubber, more of everything for absolutely no reason other than what?

Perhaps the good Mr Brehaut can answer that and also why Environment is doing everything possible to interrupt the flow of traffic, instead of doing everything to make your journey from A to B quicker and thus have you off the road not taking up space and polluting more than is absolutely necessary.

Name and address withheld

Editor’s footnote: A spokesman from Traffic & Highway Services replies:

Thank you for giving us the opportunity to respond to your reader’s letter. As sequencing of traffic signals and their installation is an operational consideration, such matters are not dealt with at a political level.

The author questions the value of traffic lights in Guernsey, specifically mentioning St Clair Hill traffic lights. These signals are programmed to default to green on the Route Militaire/Vale Road arm of the junction, which carries the highest flows and will only change to green on Le Murier arm if a vehicle or cycle is detected. The only exception to this is that if no vehicle/cycle has been detected for 120 seconds on Le Murier arm, the signals will change to green on that arm (even if no vehicle/cycle is present) for a short time and then revert back to the default arm of Route Militaire/Vale Road.

This feature is now in place on all signals to remove the potential for a vehicle or cycle not being detected. This could be as a result of a sensor fault, a driver being positioned too far forward/back from the sensor or bicycles not being picked up by the detectors.

The reason that your reader has experienced an increased number of occasions of having to wait on red when travelling along Vale Road is due to a recent fault with the detection equipment. However, our signal contractors have identified and rectified the fault and hopefully the problem the reader has outlined will no longer be an issue.

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