Thursday, April 19, 2018

Highlands & Islands Regional MSP David Stewart has stepped back into the saga over traffic congestion in Nairn.

Today we received a press release from David Stewart concerning the traffic lights. David mentions the Scottish Government and Transport Scotland's role in installing the lights in the first place. Here at the Gurn however, we have some sympathy for the school of thought that Highland Council also had some culpability in turning Nairn into a "traffic light toon". Below is the MSP's press release and after that a link to Gurn material concerning the origin of the lights. 

"Highlands & Islands Regional MSP David Stewart has stepped back into the saga over traffic congestion in Nairn.

He said “In 2015, I was instrumental in trying to persuade the Government and Transport Scotland that the congestion in the town was due in part to their decision to increase the traffic lights at the A96 junctions through the town from four to eight, claiming this was as a result of the expected increased traffic from the then new Sainsbury’s store which was opened in 2011.

“I lodged Parliamentary Questions on the issue, wrote to the then Transport Minister and set up an i-petition to try and address the issue.

"I also lodged a Freedom of Information (FOI) request with Transport Scotland, seeking the junction collision history through Nairn.

“These details were produced and revealed that between 2005 and 2015 there was :

· no road traffic collision at the junction of the A96 with Seabank Road, Nairn.

· three slight collisions at the A96 junction with Harbour Street (2005,2009 and 2013),

· two slight collisions at the junction with the A939,(2007)

· and two serious and two slight in the last 10 years at the junction of the A96 and Marine Road Roundabout (2006,2007,2008 and 2011).

· “There were no road traffic collisions at the junction with Albert Street and three slight collisions at the A96 junction with Moss- Side Road (2005,2008 and 2011).

(Note: There was a fatality involving a pedestrian and a lorry late October 2015,at the A96/Leopold Street junction, but this tragic collision was not included in the statistics provided)

“On reflecting on these figures, back in 2015, I said at that time:

‘In 10 years, there have been 10 slight road traffic collisions and two serious collisions at the A96 road junctions through Nairn.

'Of course It would be best if there were not any, but I really have to ask if that is a collision history meriting an increase in junction controls from four sets of traffic lights to eight through the town?'"

“ Let's take Albert Street.

"In a 10 year period there had not been one road collision at that junction, yet it was deemed potentially a dangerous junction and traffic lights were set up there, albeit here they are, some years later and after community and political pressure, removing them. Despite all my efforts at that time, the Government and Transport Scotland advised that surveys revealed that there was a need for this level of traffic control, even at this junction.

David concluded , “ The public of Nairn, the motorists of the A96 and so many other knew then and know now that there was not a need for this 50% increase in the number of traffic lights along the A96 in Nairn and all that the Government and Transport Scotland did was brought road chaos to the town. Now they need to sort it out and the start has been removing one set of lights they installed against most other peoples better judgement. Already there has been improvement with congestion.I have written again to the Transport Minister asking him to monitor the need for all other traffic light controlled junctions through Nairn."
Now we wish to refer readers to a Gurn article from August 2014 entitled "How Nairn got the traffic lights and the present day environmental and economic penalty paid by residents and business"

The article stated: The “hellish” delays that can be caused by the Nairn traffic lights were discussed at the joint meeting of the West and Suburban Community Councils in Nairn Academy on Tuesday night (22/08/14). We’ll return to the substance of those discussions but in the light of recent facebook activism by local residents perhaps this is an opportune moment to quote Cllr Brian Stewart of the Westies who gave a short briefing on how we got so many traffic lights in Nairn.

Brian said: “I think the origins of it all are quite clear, a team of consultants run by Colin Buchannan produced a report for the Sainsbury’s development proposal because they were required to. Which was tabled to Highland Council and that incorporated traffic studies which led to or which included recommendations for traffic lights. Highland Council as the local planning authority agreed those proposals as part of the package that went with the permission to develop Sainsbury’s . Highland Council as the planning authority were required to get Transport Scoltand’s endorsement or acceptance of traffic lights because the A96 is a trunk road and Transport Scotland endorsed and accepted them and BEAR Scotland’s job is simply to make sure that the electricity, that the lights work, so BEAR Scotland have no policy responsibility.”

More here.

A traffic jam back in 2014 and still a common site in Nairn


Anonymous said...

The Leopold/A96 junction is becoming by far the most dangerous point in Nairn, in the last week alone i have seen at least 12 vehicles go through a red light, including 3 HGVs. this at the same point where that old lady was killed a couple of years ago. A little kid learning to cross the road was nearly the next victim a couple of days ago.

Anonymous said...

Mr Stewart always seems keen to allow lorries to travel faster on our roads and wants to claim some points for the reduction in accidents on the A9 through that rather than the SNP introduced speed cameras:

Personally I like to see the speed limit reduced to 20mph through Nairn and yes I know someone will tell me you can never reach that speed.

As for allowing lorries to go faster. I'd prefer they didn't and people learnt to live with their frustrations of being behind one on the A9 or indeed the A96. If there is an accident a lorry travelling at 60 mph will cause a lot more damage than one going at 40mph even if it's just the braking difference.

If Mr Stewart is genuine in his concerns he should be doing more cross party work rather than enjoy political point scoring over the matter of traffic.

Anonymous said...

If the traffic lights go.
How are pedestrians going cross the A 96 at any point safely?
That issue is vastly more important than how fast cars can travel through Nairn.

Anonymous said...

Fergus Ewing and the local Councillors were already on this case back in 2013 - long before Dave Stewart had "discovered" Nairn. The shockingly bureaucratic delays and H&S reluctance to change perceptions of risk are very sadly symptomatic of the UK in the 21st Century.
A crazy, crazy waste of the Sainsbury "planning gain cash".
I have to agree that a 20mph zone from Altonburn to Balmakeith would be a great idea. We might not then have had fatalities - young and old.

Anonymous said...

Its no wonder Leopold st red light jumpers are at it they stay at green for 2 cars,I went to Perth the other day dial carrigway fine single cariggw
at 40 to 50 mph lorries should be able to do 60 modern lorries a lot safer now

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
Its no wonder Leopold st red light jumpers are at it they stay at green for 2 cars.

While there are a few that go through on red at Leopold Street, by far the worst culprits are those on the A96.

dr-grigor said...

There is an accident waiting to happen at the lights at the top of harbour street. I cross there at least 3-4 times daily and on at the very least on one of these occasions there is always someone who goes through a red light or speeps up when the lights are changing rather than slow down and stop . A lot of our older residents live in the fishertown area if the police checked over the cctv from that area they would see for themselves the ridiculous amount of people going through the red light at that spot....

Anonymous said...

Traffic through Nairn is what it is and the traffic lights are there to "protect people" and not "cause traffic delays".

David Stewart is at it and he knows it. If he was so concerned, why was he not at the forefront of a campaign to build a Nairn by pass and the upgrading of the A96 when his useless lot were in power for thirteen years at westminster and eight years at Holyrood?

Much of what the SNP Scottish Government is dealing with, I hasten to add during westminster imposed austerity, is a direct legacy of what labour did not do when the sun shone and money was awash.

The Aberdeen by pass is now just about complete, it's taken thrity years of appeals and planning to build this road. But only under the SNP has it come to fruition! At least when the SNP came to power they have made a start on the A96, under labour and their tory pals, Nairn wlould have been left to rot!