Saturday, 12 July 2008

I hope you like jamming too?

It was the 'Take Part Take Pride' Worcester Park guided walk this morning - a decent turnout of local residents made the most of the break in the recent monsoon rains to stretch their legs and learn more about the history of Worcester Park. Accompanied by a first aider in uniform - you can never be too healthy or too safe, I guess.

It appears that those on foot are about the only ones in Worcester Park that are actually getting anywhere fast.

Last weekend I was somewhat scpetical (most unlike me) that the new yellow box junctions that have been slapped on certain parts of Central Road would make any difference to the problems of traffic gridlock.

If the experience of the past five days is anything to go by, they certainly have. Traffic is a lot worse.

I thought perhaps it was all in my imagination, but as I commute home along the Malden Road (from North Cheam into Worcester Park) the traffic queuing to crawl down Central Road has definitely lengthened.

Blog reader 'Amskar' has noticed a recent change too:

"This last week it seems to have become much worse than usual. Even on Sunday afternoon there were huge queues. It really has become unacceptable and unnecessary. "

Whilst I'm sticking with the 'yellow box' argument, Amskar thinks our old friends the traffic lights may be to blame:

"I suspect that Kingston Council have changed the timing on the lights at Worcester Park Station because I counted that it only stays green for about 10 seconds (enough time for just 5 vehicles to pass through) before stopping to allow one or two vehicles out of the Avenue.

It seems ludicrous that 200 or more vehicles (including buses) are held up for a handful of cars exiting The Avenue. It seems that nobody is prepared to tackle this problem, simply by changing the timing on these lights and giving at least one minute for the main road thereby allowing more than a few vehicles through.

If this continues I can see buses being rerouted away from Worcester Park to avoid this madness."

The good news it that TFL have allocated resources to change the traffic light phasing in Worcester Park.

The various sets of traffic lights in the Central Road/Malden Road area section will all be linked which, TFL promise, will smooth the flow of traffic through Worcester Park.

Oh, and we only have to wait until January 2009 for this to be done.

18 COMMENTS (Add Yours Now!):

Bridget said...

It is the traffic lights at the station, and also at the Green Lane junction. I noticed towards the end of last week that both sets of lights are green for only a very short time, causing even longer queues than usual in both directions.

The new box junctions don't help either. Everyone is so fed up with the dead slow crawl through Worcester Park that they simply add insult to injury.

Anonymous said...

The station traffic lights are an accident waiting to happen.

If you enter the junction, waiting to turn right into The Avenue, you can't see any lights, and have to wait until oncoming traffic halts (telling you lights have changed) before you go. By then (as someone ALWAYS jumps red lights there) you already have irate drivers entering the junction from The Avenue or the station.

I and several neighbours have already raised this with Kingston, and they say it's for safety.

Jeez, all they have to do is turn one set of lights though 180ยบ...

Go figure.

Amskar said...

Well, I think it is definitely the timing on the station lights, because the traffic has become much worse from the A3 towards Worcester Park and there aren't any yellow boxes on that side (yet!).

It isn't a complex problem to alleviate. Just stand there and you will see that they are only green for about eight seconds (and then they wonder why traffic doesn't flow on this main road)!
The council simply needs to adjust the timing on these lights in accordance with the amount of traffic. At present, The Avenue is getting the green light almost as long as the A243 which just doesn't make sense in terms of traffic usage.
With all this traffic W.Park is becoming a 'High Emission Zone'.

Anonymous said...

Or evict everybody from the Hamptons of course..........

Rocky said...

clearly the only sensible answers to this is either to build a giant monorail (a la "The Matlock Monorail" in the Simpsons) running from Sutton to Kingston or build a series of tubes for transportation as promised in the vision of the future, the cartoon "The Jetsons".

The Brinkster said...

Forget the Simpsons and the Jetsons. Knowing Worcester Park we'll most likely end up with something from the Flintstones........

Samsungite said...

That doesn't sound so bad.....

Stephan said...

Yaaaabaaaadaaaabaaaadoooooo!

I agree the boxes havent helped. As soon as a space is available on the far side of the box, some git from a side road will fill it!

Jennifer said...

I haven't had a car since December as I get the train to work and didn't see the point of having one (expense etc), however having borrowed my parents car one day, I definitely noticed the lights are not staying green for as long. I actually noticed this about 2 months ago but thought it was my imagination!

Anonymous said...

the box junctions were designed for us side road gits otherwise the cheam and nonsuch gits that pass through have priority over its WCPs own residents.

Anonymous said...

its not the sutton kingston councils that control the roads and the lights its transport for london.

Its not until you get as far out as epson and ewell that the councils have any say on the roads or traffic lights.

Read the crappy hamiltons leaflet that came through today and they explain the pain they've gone through with TFL for them to do anything with the roads here.

Anonymous said...

Well, they certainly seem to have changed the lights now. Every evening this week the traffic has backed up on The Avenue as far as Woodlands Avenue!

Word verification: "foepoo" Wassat then?

Anonymous said...

is it fact or my imagination. have the sequencing of the traffic lights at the station now changed(AGAIN). to give more time (green) to the traffic on the main road!!!!!!

The Brinkster said...

If you want to know about the sequencing of the lights and how TFL are involved I have posted about it here.

Anonymous said...

I've been in touch with Kingston Council and TFL, and yes they have extended the lights which is improving the traffic flow on the main road. There was a fault with the timing which was severely affecting the main road in both directions.

Let us hope they keep it this way or extend it further come September when the traffic will increase. The main road should get priority over the side roads.

Huey said...

@Anonymous "Accident waiting to happen"

There was a time there *were* lights visible from the centre of the junction, but these were removed, ooh, 18 months+ ago? I noticed immediately as, turning right (cycling) into The Avenue I could advance up to the final bollard in the centre there, then as the lights went green, set off across the yet-to-move-off oncoming traffic. No such luck now, and I can't see how any aspect of that junction is safe - you now have to guess when the oncoming traffic will be halted by the lights going red before you can turn across it. There is no protection in the junction centre for vulnerable road users either, especially when, waiting to turn right, cars then try and creep around on the inside - it's not as if they can catch me through the bends after the Tavern anyway!

There's currently two through-lanes at that junction - they should make a filter lane in each direction - one turning right into The Avenue, one turning right into the station and stop through-traffic in each direction whilst the filter traffic turns.

Andrew said...

To be honest, i think traffic lights are the root cause of most of the traffic jams around here, they should put a non-light controlled roundabout in there instead.

Huey said...

The problem with roundabouts is drivers don't use them properly. They will clog with traffic within seconds.

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