Truckie's green light solution

ESTHER ASHBY-COVENTRY
Last updated 05:00 16/06/2014
maurice young
ESTHER ASHBY-COVENTRY/ Fairfax NZ
LIGHTS LOGIC: Maurice Young thinks he has the answer to Timaru's traffic light nuisance.
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Timaru truck driver Maurice Young believes he has the answer to alleviating traffic light delays along Evans St.

He got so sick of being held up by the changing lights he formulated a plan two years ago based on the American Continuous Green System (CGS).

Involving so-called "seagull intersections" - because of their shape - CGS allows the higher volume of traffic on main roads to travel straight through without stopping.

Motorists turning from side streets into the main road must give way and then enter a merging lane, which forms one "wing" of the seagull. The main road is a single lane in each direction, other than the wings at the intersections. According to the United States Department of Transportation, the CGS system reduces delays by 96.8 per cent, injury by 70 per cent and crashes by 60 per cent.

The onus is on the vehicles from the side streets to give way and determine when it is best to turn and join the main traffic flow.

"I'm calling it the 'Free T' because the main road would be green all the time," Young said.

The only exceptions to the continuous flow would be when a pedestrian crosses or a car on the side street is stopped for an exceptionally long time. Then the lights would change to red.

Instead of cars double-banking on the main road at the lights and slowing the flow, this strategy would keep traffic moving, Young said.

He pointed out that trucks forced to stop regularly waste a lot of fuel. He gave the example of a fully laden truck stopping at the Wai-iti Rd intersection, then again at the Port Loop turnoff, going through about a litre of fuel in that short space. If it kept moving it would use only about a quarter of a litre over the same distance.

"Carting cattle to the port from Pleasant Point during the day, the lights added half an hour to the trip in 2013," Young said.

The truck driver of 19 years has had interest in his ideas from South Canterbury road safety co-ordinator Daniel Naude, but when he submitted the proposal to the Timaru District Council in 2012 for the District Plan, he said it was received and filed.

Young would like the council to look at it seriously.

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- The Timaru Herald

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