Traffic lights in Higher Buxton are putting the brakes on the area’s regeneration, a road safety campaigner told the Advertiser at the Town Team’s transport conference yesterday (Wednesday).
Video producer and campaigner for traffic system reform, Martin Cassini, claims getting rid of traffic control at the busy Five Ways junction would see the area become people-friendly once more – and bring back neighbourhood shops.
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Martin, who was the keynote speaker at the Buxton on the Move conference hosted by the University of Derby, said that the Cheshire town of Poynton had experienced an economic boom after following his advice by getting rid of traffic lights and multi-lane approach roads in their town centre.
Now drivers and pedestrians meet on a raised brick-paved areas where they are obliged to treat each other as human beings – and not obstacles or threats.
“In Poynton they got rid of lights at a major road junction and multi-lane approach roads, thereby actually increasing the pedestrian space,” said Martin, who said regeneration was the spur for the local councillors’ decision there.
“It created the opportunity for free on-street parking.
“Footfall, within weeks of the scheme starting, had increased by 80 per cent. Almost every empty shop in Poynton was snapped up.
“Since the scheme happened you can’t get premises for love or money – they are all let and the economy has boomed.”
He believes there is no reason why the same should not happen for the people who live in the High Street, West Road and Dale Road area, where even air quality would improve as traffic would not have to wait with engines idling before revving up to get going again.
Martin believes that despite the heavy traffic at Five Ways, drivers freed from blindly obeying traffic signals would make responsible decisions which would improve road safety and increase traffic flows.
And he proved it at Portishead in Somerset where the traffic lights were switched off in an experiment.
It was made permanent after journey times fell by over half with no loss of pedestrian safety.
Buxton on the Move brought together local authorities, community leaders and independent experts to create a policy for parking and traffic circulation which has grass roots support.