Amber gamble: Mayor hopeful promises to switch off traffic lights
A MAYORAL candidate has promised to switch off some of Bristol's traffic lights at night if he is elected as the city's new leader.
Liberal Democrat Jon Rogers, above, said the lights could be switched to flash amber instead, a system used in France which tells road users to proceed with caution.
Dr Rogers, who was in charge of the council's transport department for more than two years, said there was no reason why road users – including cyclists – should be held up at junctions at night when there was little traffic about.
He said he accepted that some traffic lights should be in use at all times for safety reasons but there were many more which he believed could be switched to flashing amber.
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Dr Rogers told the Post: "If you are driving home at two in the morning, it is very frustrating to find yourself waiting at a red light when there is no other traffic about.
"If we had them flashing amber, it would reduce the frustration, it would reduce the pollution and it would shorten journey times."
He said obvious examples where flashing amber lights could be used were at the bottom of Cromwell Road, where it meets Gloucester Road at the Arches in Cotham and at the end of Ashley Down Road, where it meets Gloucester Road.
Dr Rogers said he thought council and government highway civil servants would be very reluctant to see traffic lights switched off completely but he was "up for it" if local communities came forward and argued the case against them.
The Post ran a campaign two years ago to get traffic lights in the city switched off at night, which led to success at a couple of junctions.
Following our campaign, the council's highways experts looked at the issue and traffic lights in Prince Street and at the junction between Nelson Street and Union Street were turned off at night.
The campaign was triggered by moves at Portishead's Cabstand junction, where controversial new traffic lights caused unprecedented tailbacks. Eventually, North Somerset Council agreed to remove them.
Dr Rogers, a keen cyclist, admitted that when he was in charge of transport, he tried to get traffic lights switched off but the idea was squashed by the Government's Department for Transport.
He said: "Since then, the department has become much more flexible to new ideas and if I was elected mayor, then I would want to push for a pilot scheme to try out switching off some traffic lights as a trial and have them flashing amber instead.
"I think most people would welcome this move and see the sense in ending unnecessary frustration at night when there is much less traffic about."
He said if elected, he would want to set up a pilot in 2013.