THERE is a major road safety problem which is in effect caused by the phasing of the Huntingdon railway station traffic lights. These lights take so long in changing during the morning rush hour that traffic backs up over Godmanchester bridge and Hartford
THERE is a major road safety problem which is in effect caused by the phasing of the Huntingdon railway station traffic lights. These lights take so long in changing during the morning rush hour that traffic backs up over Godmanchester bridge and Hartford Road, past Riverside Park.
The whole of the left-hand lane of Huntingdon ring road from Godmanchester bridge is nose-to-tail most mornings from around 7.15am through the rush hour.
Added to this, the delays for pedestrians to cross at the Elphicks store and the further delays due to the bus-lane traffic phase causes even more delay for rush-hour traffic.
The result is that vehicles are now travelling in the outer lane of the ring road towards Ermine Street and the police station and either force their way into the out-of-town traffic queue waiting to turn towards Brampton or they cross the traffic lights and immediately drive into the George Hotel car park, cutting through to George Street and coming back to the traffic lights to join traffic heading for Brampton.
On one morning, I witnessed 18 cars, vans and taxis rat-running into the George Hotel car park in just one minute. If you multiply this by the number of minutes in the rush hour and at even reduce the vehicle numbers to 25 per cent of that number every minute, this is a very significant number of vehicles that are causing a major safety problem.
The George Hotel's is a public car park and is also used by the hotel patrons and staff. It is only a matter of time until a member of the hotel staff or a pedestrian or someone innocently leaving a parked car, is either badly hurt or killed within the car park.
The problem is exacerbated by people using the new law courts. They are also rat-running through the car park to access the courts' secure yard - which is opposite the entry/exit point in George Street.
The manager of the hotel says that he is very concerned for the safety of his staff and other legitimate car park users. I am informed that he has contacted the police about this problem on more than one occasion.
The problem has been in existence only since the introduction of the new bus-lane, the new road layout and the time lags on the traffic lights. I believe that Cambridgeshire County Council needs to rectify this as a matter of urgency.
My initial thought to rectify this problem is to install a "drive-over retractable barrier", which will let people out onto only the ring road access/egress point from the car park.
Councillor JEFF DUTTON
Cambridgeshire County Council
Editor's note: A county council spokesman said there had been no change in the timings of the traffic lights at the station, and officials had received no complaints. The George Hotel car park was private and it was up to the landowner to regulate access, though CCC would be willing to help, if asked.