Traffic lights irritate drivers

ESTHER ASHBY-COVENTRY
Last updated 05:00 14/06/2014
kevin dey
MYTCHALL BRANSGROVE/ Fairfax NZ

ANOTHER RED: Timaru motorist Kevin Dey is fed up with Timaru's traffic lights, which he claims can add up to 10 minutes to a journey from Washdyke to town.

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Traffic on side roads continues to cause frustration to motorists as the 10 sets of traffic lights between Washdyke and North St change erratically.

The 6-kilometre stretch is controlled by the Sydney Co-ordinated Adaptive Traffic System (Scats), designed for that Australian city.

Timaru District Council land transport manager Andrew Dixon says that, when used for smaller volumes, the system will allow one car on a side street to join the main road, as it flicks to red to cope with what it perceives as demand.

Motorist Kevin Dey travels regularly from his Washdyke home along Hilton Highway, Evans St and Theodosia St, and said he invariably had to stop many times on the way.

He said that, even when the lights were green at the Newman St intersection, the next lot of lights around the corner, outside McDonald's, were usually red.

The retired manager said it did not matter what time of day or night he travelled, he always encountered the same problem.

"It's really annoying," he said.

"It can add 10 minutes to a trip."

Dey would like to see a similar system installed to the ones on Blenheim Rd and Moorhouse Ave in Christchurch.

He wonders how Timaru truck drivers cope with the disruptions.

Brosnan Transport trucks take containers to and from the port about 20 times a day but have not found any problems with the lights.

General manager Reon Park said more concerning for his truck drivers were passing lanes changing to single lanes abruptly along that route.

Dixon said the maximum red-light phase was 60 seconds and usually motorists would not have to stop for that entire time "and never at all of them".

"[Stopping for 10 minutes] is a perception thing, it's not reality."

The Christchurch Traffic Operation Centre was now controlling the lights and was in the process of fine-tuning them.

"So they will improve," Dixon said.

Meanwhile yesterday afternoon, at the intersection of the Port Loop Rd and State Highway 1, the lights on the main route remained green for six minutes.

"We had to manually over-ride it," Dixon said.

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- The Timaru Herald

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