Thursday, August 04, 2011

First real problems for the Red Light District?

Reports coming in this evening of tailbacks back to the Delnies caravan site and long waiting times to get into Nairn. A report of thirty-five minutes to reach Queenspark from Delnies. One Gurnite preffered to go out the back way via Auldearn to pick someone up at Balmakeith around 17.00 this evening. The following in too:

" My son was stopped in traffic out at Barmac Road end after 5.30pm and again had to try to get round the back roads into Nairn as he had an appointment to attend. I know the Black Isle show was on but the lights are definitely causing the problems going west to east because when you get out to Sainsbury's there are no hold ups and traffic moving freely. Even last night went to pick up someone and took 15minutes to get from Duncan Drive to Bridgemill at 6.20pm!"

Maybe things have been fine up to now but once the traffic goes over a certain level then we can expect severe problems?


Anonymous said...

My journey home at tea time would lead me to pin the blame on the Lochloy Road lights .

Very short phases of two way A96 flow then east bound traffic held by right filter for west bound traffic to turn down Lochloy Road. Then Lochloy / Broadhill gets its turn ( given the volume of traffic on the A96 ,it does seem that the two non-trunk roads do seem to have priority for disproportionate amount of time).

Then, of course, the chaos theory............pedestrian crossings. Like, totally random man.......

Anonymous said...

I wonder if the lights can be programmed to allow for the variation in traffic flows at peak times, i.e greater number of vehicles going west of a morning and then vice versa of an evening?

Evenings seem the worst with many people getting inventive with their routes to try and get around the problem, but with the nights drawing in I fear for accidents on the back roads with all the extra traffic

We can only hope that some of the extra traffic is just the initial rush of cars/people getting to Sainsbury's and that the issue will ease soon, if not it will just add ammunition to the need for a bypass

Anonymous said...

Hopefully it will have a positive effect on the school runs ie parents will make there children walk to school instead of taking them a mile in the car !!!

Graisg said...

It all seemed OK for a while. Does anyone still think the lights are working well?

Lamplighter said...

I happened to speak to a couple of the technical guys who were "fine tuning" the traffic light controls the evening before the Sainsburys' opening. They were from a consultancy firm: one was from Falkirk, the other from Edinburgh. Neither had a clue about the layout of the roads around and through Nairn. But they did have laptops, toolkits, hard hats and orange jackets, so they must know all the answers.

They did confirm the "chaos theory" mentioned above: the pedestrian-controlled lights are not synchronised with the (new) traffic light system. So no matter how much fiddling with the timings, it can all still be screwed up by the push-buttons.

As for today's queues - did anybody see officials or traffic experts observing/monitoring?

One Anon posting above also identifies another problem - the Lochloy junction timings. The next post suggests a solution: variable programming of the lights for the morning (westward) and evening (eastward) peak flows. This is a common and well-tried system in many other places. The Council and Transport Scotland need to be asked why it is not being used here.

Sadly, I'm beginning to believe in Sandy Park's cunning plan: that the real aim is to make the transit of Nairn so tedious and difficult that the government will be forced, or embarrassed into building a bypass. Naive and wishful thinking, or a clever strategy? Either way, travellers through Nairn seem fated to endure many more years of misery.

neilscot said...

The lights at Lochloy have had a mind of their own for a long time and do not always give priority to A96 traffic, by changing when there are no vehicles waiting to come from Merryton or Broadhill.
The light at the top of Harbour St, when they go to red they stay at red far longer than normal pedestrian crossings.
The light by the library carpark, again have been stopping west bound traffic when there has been no pedestrians or cars waiting to come out of the Library carpark!
There is three reasons that cause delays. No need for traffic lights at Albert street or the next street along, rediculous.
So who ever is in charge needs to get the finger out and see the lights are working properly.

stuck said...

Too late now, but it would have been good if certain lights had been fitted with motion sensors so that they only changed when there was traffic waiting to enter the A96

It could be Sainsbury's downfall (and Nairn's) as I wouldn't be surprised if many people who live west on Nairn visit the new store once and decide never again after being stuck in our traffic

Graisg said...

I thought they had anon. Take Moss side Road for example. The lights there seem to know when a car pulls up wanting to get onto the A96.

Anonymous said...

bloody light,leopold st.lets out 3 cars then change,lochloy is hellisjh.more should have been spent on pavements and town instead of time wasting.petrol wasting lights,
bloody sainsburys should been built in forres

Anonymous said...

There must be a sensor of some kind,maybe in the road as the lights coming of the Grantown road seems to know your there.A few problems i have encountered are when you turn left at Leopold street the lights at Albert street are on red and when it's busy cars are backed up so mybe only one car gets out.Also turning left out of Albert st the bus station lights are always on red.

trafficman said...

Traffic now a nightmare as was predicted. Cars now cutting through at Delnies and using the single track road at Little Kildrummie like a raceway. A head on accident soon is a cert.
The problems are definately at Lochloy and Leopold Street with very bad timing. If you get a red you get every red after that. God help us all when the school runs start and the kids start using the pedestrian crossings all the time. A solution must be found and soon before someone gets killed on one of the minor roads used as a rat run.

Anonymous said...

What we really need is something that is more responsive to the traffic levels than traffic lights with electronic sensors and timers, which will never be perfect and can in cases we have seen actually add to the traffic problems. Considering the cost of the lights would it not be cheaper to employ Police/PCSO's to control the traffic with one at lepold street and on at lochloy in the morning 8-9.30 and again at 4-6pm

nairnbairn said...

There seems to be no evidence of systematic monitoring of the traffic and lights by either the Highland Council or Transport Scotland. Do they think that it was enough to "fit and forget" this complex new traffic-management scheme?

We need to remember that it is not Sainsburys, but the local Council as the planning authority, that was responsible for the installation of the lights. I hope our elected Councillors are aware of local reaction, since they have to be held to account for this shambles.

Meanwhile the Gurn seems to be the only way at present of collating feedback and information from local residents and drivers. This is all valuable information. Clear evidence (not emotional rants...) about the specific ways in which the new arrangements are failing, and thoughtful ideas for solutions, will be useful ammunition for any forthcoming public discussion. So let's have many more comments.

Anonymous said...

We need to remember that it is not Sainsburys, but the local Council as the planning authority, that was responsible for the installation of the lights. I hope our elected Councillors are aware of local reaction, since they have to be held to account for this shambles.

Not so.

As the Sainsbury's application was likely to result in a development that materially affected a trunk road, ie the A96, the statutory consultees/ decision makers on such matters were/are Transport Scotland, not the Council.

It was Transport Scotland who decided that all of the extra traffic control measures were required & their report was simply lodged by them with the planning department to be appended to the application. The measures contained in the report simply became a condition, once permission was granted for the development.

I still fail to see how many , if not all the new lights can be justified.

The recent quiet spell of traffic seemed to quell concerns about the potential for disruption and delay.......but these last few days have brought the doubts about the system back into focus .

As has been pointed out though, who is observing to see if the system works? There's precious little evidence of any effective action to address the problems, given that even the lay person can see the root cause of the trouble.

Do the great and wise actually care though? I saw on the ANB web site that all they got back from the Transport Minister was a letter acknowledging receipt of the postcard and letter they sent, and that took a month to come back. Who knows how long a proper reply might take !

Anonymous said...

The council should be held responsible for the total shambles, which is Nairn's road infrastructure.

The lights do not work and have made for a very unpleasant driving experience through what was already an awkward traffic way for a main trunk route.

Further it has made the area dangerous, what with more cars taking other routes to get around or in to Nairn.

It is embarrassing that there is more congestion here than into Inverness at 'rush hour', indeed it's not far off from travelling in to Aberdeen at 07:30 in the morning.

Enough is enough, Nairn has had enough, get it sorted!!

nairnbairn said...

The Anonymous person who "corrected" my comments about who was responsible said

"It was Transport Scotland who decided that all of the extra traffic control measures were required"

This is right... but only up to a point. As the authority responsible for trunk roads, Transport Scotland is a statutory consultee. The Highland Council, in considering Sainsburys' application, had to consult TS, and had to consider and give due weight to the TS response.

But TS is concerned only with the trunk road. They don't consider (and don't care...) about the impact or consequences for nearby minor roads or town streets. So their recommendations have to be assessed in the light of these other factors.

Ultimately, it is the HC which grants the planning consent. The HC is also responsible for overall transport strategy and traffic management. As such, the HC is formally the authority which has to balance and reconcile all the comments from the various statutory consultees, and consider all aspects of a development proposal when framing the conditions that are then attached to the planning consent.

We do not know - because there was no consultation, and the relevant documents have not been made public - who proposed the traffic lights. They were not suggested by the consultants who did the Transport Assessment for Sainsburys' development plan.

As the public comments have already shown, the traffic lights issue has resulted in TS and HC each pointing the finger at the other. This confirms what many already knew or suspected: that the operational relationship between the two authorities is dysfunctional and ineffective. Neither consults local stakeholders properly, and neither takes adequate acccount of local input. As a result, this lack of joined-up thinking means the decisions are often misguided and inappropriate.

The Nairn traffic lights and junction arrangements are a classic example, as the practical evidence is now demonstrating. Trunk road traffic flow is impeded, suburban streets are becoming ratruns, and nearby 'B' roads are becoming hazardous unofficial bypass routes.

Remember, the bottom line is that both Transport Scotland and Highland Council officials are supposed to be answerable to, and held to account by, our elected representatives. That's why we have to look to those representatives to take a proactive approach. Is this likely?

Anonymous said...

I no longer come out of the Manse road junction, I go to the Seabank road traffic lights.
Without a box junction at the Manse road /Waverly road crossroads, traffic coming from Inverness block the opening, I don't blame them, the traffic in front of them looks like it is moving then all of a sudden the lights change futher down they are trapped and blocking the exit from Manse road. ( why did the Albert st lights not go here?)
Also will a box junction be put back at the exit onto the A96 from the Co-op?