Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Ken Creates Traffic Jam on Queen's Doorstep; Traffic Calming Madness

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Ken Creates Traffic Jam on Queen's Doorstep; Traffic Calming Madness

Article excerpt


IT IS Mayor Ken Livingstone's Golden Jubilee "present" to the Queen - a traffic jam along The Mall.

Traffic flow "improvements" by the Mayor's Transport for London (TfL) authority have left drivers at Admiralty Arch on The Mall with only eight seconds of green traffic lights to get into Trafalgar Square.

The green light cycle has been slashed from 40 seconds a year ago to 11 seconds in the busier morning rush-hour and eight seconds at all other times.

The result is frustrated drivers stuck in queues. Although on a main approach to Trafalgar Square, the lights have almost the shortest green span given to motorists at any junction in London, TfL has confirmed.

Almost a century after it was built to commemorate Queen Victoria, the arch is likely to be snarled up in traffic jams for the Jubilee celebrations of her great-great granddaughter.

In the evening rush-hour it can take drivers up to seven minutes to move 200 metres and get over the junction. While car and taxi drivers get eight seconds of green lights, pedestrians have the luxury of a minute of green lights under the Mayo r ' s policy to "redress the balance" on the roads towards people on foot and public transport users.

The changes at Admiralty Arch are also aimed at accommodating the work to pedestrianise the northern side of Trafalgar Square, a key project of Mr Livingstone's. The road is effectively being used as a "holding area" to stop traffic coming into Trafalgar Square, which is subject to pressure and delays from the part closures of Northumberland Avenue and The Strand and roadworks in Whitehall.

Drivers' frustrations at the timings are increased by tourists strolling across the road in the short time vehicles have to get across, adding to the delays and congestion.

Scooter rider Colin Reith has seen the traffic congestion deteriorate since the light phasings were introduced at the start of the year. Mr Reith, a solicitor, said: "Several years ago The Mall was free of jams, but it has been completely transformed for the worst since the light changes. …

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