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