Richard Willis's Blog

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More Traffic Lights Face the Axe

Two more sets off traffic lights will be switched off over the next fortnight as Reading Borough Council’s major review of traffic signals across the town continues. Today (February 28), the traffic lights at Gosbrook Road, junction with Westfield Road, were switched off. The pedestrian crossing has been retained to aid pedestrians crossing the road.

From the following week – Monday March 7 – the traffic lights at the Meadway, junction with Combe Road, will also be removed. Again the pedestrian crossing will remain in place. And on Monday March 14, works will begin to remove the hated ‘build-out’ on London Road, at the junction with Eldon Road.

Earlier this year I ordered a major review of traffic light controlled junctions. Reading Borough Council asked residents to participate in the wholesale review, gauging opinion on which junctions flow well and those where improvements could be made. 28 junctions were proposed by the public for removing or changing the lights. 20 junctions across town were identified by Officers where it may be possible safely to introduce changes – or even remove traffic lights altogether – in order to speed up journey times.

The traffic lights at Jackson’s Corner, on the Kings Road  junction with Duke Street and High Street, were switched off late last year following a detailed safety audit, as part of the Council’s on-going commitment to remove delays for motorists wherever possible.
The work at Gosbrook Road, the Meadway and London Road, continues the process of implementing changes. Further improvements as a part of the traffic signal review will be reported to a meetings of the  Transport Management Advisory Panel on 17th March.

Transport officers will now continue the process of looking into key factors, like casualty information and limitations due to the size and make-up of junctions, before further changes are made at the remaining recommended junctions. 

‘The programme of reviewing and removing unnecessary traffic lights is proceeding well. Each junction has to undergo an exhaustive safety review before changes are made but I am pleased that more lights have now been cleared to come out. The removal of the hated ‘build out’ at the London Road/Eldon Road junction will help to increase the capacity along London Road which should improve traffic flows. Further junctions will be announced in the near future.

Reading has seen significant changes in development over the past decade which have seen traffic patterns alter considerably. Significant new developments have created varying demands on the town’s road network and research shows there has been a significant increase in the use of public transport, walking and cycling. Work has confirmed that traffic patterns have changed and some key junctions would operate more effectively if they were revised. The junctions that have been recognised to date are mainly traffic signalised junctions.


February 28, 2011 - Posted by | Local


  1. I made some effort to get that build-out in London Road,at the junction with Eldon Road, removed. But failed. At the time it was built, there was a DWP office in Princes House on the corner of Princes Street. Officers insisted strongly that the build out was necessary for the safety of pedestrians walking along the north side of London Road and needing to cross Eldon Road. The build-out ensured/enforced that there is a right-turn-only lane in London Road, which has a separate green traffic light to the straight-on lanes. This means that there is some time when no traffic is entering or leaving Eldon Road – making for a safe pedestrian crossing.

    I am not now sure that getting rid of the build-out will achieve anything except to increase the queue length at the London Road/Sidmouth Street junction/traffic lights. And fewer whinging motorists. I hope there will still be a safe pedestrian crossing across the top end of Eldon Road.

    Comment by Christine | February 28, 2011 | Reply

    • Christine – you will be aware that a full safety audit must be conducted on the proposed changes. The aim is always to improve safety and traffic flows.

      Comment by Richard Willis | March 1, 2011 | Reply

  2. You can remove the majority of the lights from Caversham to junction 11 and the only outcome would be better flowing traffic.

    Comment by Gideon Mack | March 1, 2011 | Reply

    • Gideon – I understand your point which is why the A33 is being looked at as a whole.

      Comment by Richard Willis | March 1, 2011 | Reply

  3. I’m very surprised the Jacksons corner lights are being removed. Busses come round that corner pretty fast – an accident waiting to happen !

    Comment by Steve | March 1, 2011 | Reply

    • Steve – they should drive considerately and I will raise this with the bus company. As part of the final removal of the lights an innovative pedestrian crossing scheme will be implemented.

      Comment by Richard Willis | March 1, 2011 | Reply

  4. It’s a big, dangerous corner for those of us with slow legs. Removing the lights at least reminds me of my own mortality. Put them back please for the majority of non car users. Give us a chance – the innovation should have come first.

    Comment by Shaun | March 1, 2011 | Reply

    • Shaun – there is a signalised crossing a very short distance along at Butter Market.

      Comment by Richard Willis | March 2, 2011 | Reply

  5. I want (and used to be able to) cross at Jacksons corner – how does going up the road (across a road) to come down and cross another road help exactly? It’s a crossroads in case you hadn’t noticed. Now I have to look 4 ways, anticipate 4 lots of traffic (not all of which use indicators) and take my chances. It’s a big junction and no one seems to care about the pedestrians. At my age, speed, agility and eyesight are not good, but I’ll take my chances simply for a totemic jesture of removing perfectly useful lights. Think holisticly please…. it’s not just about cars,

    Comment by Shaun | March 2, 2011 | Reply

    • Shaun – this has been looked at holisticly, which is why the lights are coming out. A full safety audit was conducted which considered the needs of all road users. It found that very few pedestrians were crossing using the lights and that it was safe to cross at Jacksons Corner without the lights. My point is that for anyone who is not comfortable doing so there is another set of lights just a short distance up the road.

      Comment by Richard Willis | March 3, 2011 | Reply

  6. “it was safe to cross at Jacksons Corner without the lights”

    I don’t think so !

    Comment by Steve | March 4, 2011 | Reply

  7. Richard, you need to consider that:

    1. Not all auditors are right.
    2. Not all audits are correct.

    Any number of things can be wrong, only accumulating small sample sizes, not researching at representative times of the day, not anticipating the net increase in traffic speed with no control lights etc.

    Comment by Dan | April 3, 2011 | Reply

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