The introduction of full-time traffic lights at the Bluecoats roundabout has significantly increased daytime congestion in the town, according to local residents and motorists.
The change was made during the last weekend of March in response to data showing an increase in accidents when the lights are not operational.
Previously the traffic signals only operated during peak hours to prevent traffic using the A414 from dominating the junction.
In the days following the change, comments started appearing on social media as people noticed the increased daytime congestion.
In response to the change, Cllr Ben Crystal (Green Party, Bengeo) commented: "This change raises lots of questions. If HCC has accident data to suggest that full time lights will make the roundabout safer, then I can understand that this is a change for the good. But that begs a question: why has HCC only just switched them to full time? How long have they known that safety could be improved this way?
"I'm also concerned that Gascoine Way [sic] is in Hertford's Air Quality Management Area where any changes that make air pollution worse go against policies in our District Plan - extra queuing will almost certainly lead to worse air pollution for residents. Was EHC consulted on this change? Has HCC Highways modelled the impact of the extra air pollution since this will also be a safety issue."
The roundabout was the subject of a Hazardous Site Collision Analysis report that detailed 5 collisions involving injury occurring over the 2-year period 2018 - 2019. In addition, a longer term 5-year study showed that between 2013 – 2017, 19 collisions involving injury had occurred over the period.
74% of the collisions took place when the lights were not in operation.
Impact on traffic
Hertfordshire Highways have acknowledged that the changes have had an impact on traffic flow and journey time through the junction and are monitoring the situation to help understand the impact of the changes and identify any mitigating measures
Some of the light sequencing may be changed to help with traffic flow but this will be based on monitoring over the coming weeks as schools return and, especially as the country moves out of Coronavirus restrictions and travel behaviours continue to change.
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