Published on 11th October 2012

Close-up of a green traffic light

Traffic lights will be switched off along St Margaret’s Road at the end of this month, in a bid to improve traffic flow.

The three week trial comes as feedback from the public suggests that the current system does not work well.

There is a strong perception that there are too many traffic lights along this busy stretch of road and that they are poorly co-ordinated and encourage a build up of traffic in other areas, in this case St. Paul’s. 

It is hoped that in reducing the number of light junctions along this busy stretch of road, traffic flow and pedestrian movement will be improved.  Other benefits would include better air quality, reduced travel time and less likelihood of motorists driving too quickly in an effort to beat the next red light.

Other towns, including Ashford, Portishead and Coventry have reported very good results as a consequence of removing traffic lights.

Jeremy Williamson, managing director for Cheltenham Development Taskforce said:  ‘’We have known for a long time that motorists and pedestrians do not enjoy using this road as part of their journey.  We fully welcome any opportunity to consider alternatives and this trial will be a good starting point for this. It will be interesting to see what the results are and this will guide a long-term solution for managing traffic in this area.’’

Chris Riley, highways manager for Gloucestershire Highways said: ‘’We are pleased to be working in partnership with the borough council throughout this experiment and we are keen to see what lessons can be learned.  We are committed to identifying the best possible traffic management solution for this complex stretch of road.’’

The lights will be switched off from 29 October for approximately three weeks, depending on how the trial goes. A variety of measures will be in place to ensure the safety of all road users. The trial will be monitored throughout by video recordings, staff presence, daily inspections and police presence.  Advisory temporary diversions will be in place for cyclists, with the long term aim of improving the whole network for those using push bikes. There will be a pedestrian crossing between the Brewery and NCP carpark and additional central island crossing points.

Further information will be issued before the trial starts.

Katie Sandey, Communications and web team leader, telephone 01242 775050 or email [email protected]