Plumstead traffic light timing woes

A long line of traffic extends from the Victoria Road bridge junction with Main Road Plumstead to the 3 Arts Theatre.

Paul Noppe is one of many commuters to be inconvenienced by the traffic lights at the junction of Victoria Road and Main Road in Plumstead.

He said the only alternative is to take De Waal, Southfield or Wetton roads in Wynberg.

Gail Euston-Brown said residents in Plumstead have been hugely inconvenienced by the change of timing for traffic lights at this junction and no one seems to be listening to their concerns.

She said the traffic lights from Victoria Road used to stay on for 90 seconds, and the Main Road lights for 60 seconds, and a left turn green arrow came on afterwards. She said this system worked well but now the green light for Victoria Road stays green for only 30 seconds, while the green light for the Main Road is on for 90 seconds, and the left turn arrow has been removed.

“This is causing a major build-up of traffic on Victoria Bridge, all hours of the day,” said Ms Euston-Brown.

Jill Gribble said it took five stops of the traffic lights before she could get through the junction now that the timing has been changed.

Ms Euston-Brown said on a day when there was load shedding at 5pm, during rush hour, the traffic lights were not working and there was no traffic on the bridge when the four-way stop system was being used.

Belinda Thomson said the traffic lights are not coordinated. She said morning traffic over the bridge and turning right into Main Road is held up by vehicles waiting for the traffic light at the Gabriel and Main Road intersection to change so they can move forward.

Heather Hinds said that since the left arrow into Main Road has been removed and the timing changed there have been huge problems and traffic jams consistently at all times of day which they have never had before.

Ms Hinds said it all worked perfectly well until someone changed it in the last year.

She is also complaining about the bicycle lane over the bridge – which is on the road until about halfway down the bridge where it moves onto the pavement. “There is so much traffic over that bridge, especially at peak hours, and we really need two lanes for cars. I have never seen a bicycle on that bridge any time of the
day or night in my 14 years of living in Plumstead,” said Ms Hinds.

When the Bulletin went to investigate there was a long line of traffic from the junction to the 3 Arts Theatre and over the railway bridge in Victoria Road.

The City’s mayoral committee member for transport,
Felicity Purchase, said after receiving reports of major congestion on Victoria Road, an investigation was initiated into the travel challenges experienced at the intersections of Main, Victoria and Gabriel roads.

During the early stages of the investigation, it was found that the left-turn arrow from Victoria Road into the Main Road – southbound, was in conflict with the right turn arrow on the Main Road – northbound, that directs traffic into the service road that runs parallel with Victoria Road to access Adams Farm Home and Khanyisa School.

Ms Purchase said this is unsafe and the left-turn arrow has since been removed from the signal plan and can unfortunately not be reintroduced.

She said the left-turn arrow was displayed for a period of between five and seven seconds which means that about four vehicles would derive benefit from this left-turn arrow and only if they were the first four vehicles in the left hand lane. 

“However, if the first vehicle in the queue was intending to turn right into Main Road, there would be no benefit derived from the left-turn arrow as the first vehicle would block all left-turning movement. We therefore do not believe that the length of the queue along Victoria Road has been substantially influenced by the removal of the left-turn arrow,” said Ms Purchase.

Ms Gribble said this explanation about the left-turning arrow does not make sense. 

“There is traffic turning left when the light is green, not just when the turning arrow used to flash,” she said.

Ms Purchase said that during the week of February 11 to 15, a traffic detector fault was found on the Main Road which caused the green phase for that stretch of road to extend inappropriately. 

“This green phase has temporarily been limited to 50 seconds while the City urgently attends to the repair of the traffic detector. No changes have been made to the length of the main green phase on Victoria Road,” said Ms Purchase.

Councillor Carol Bew was asked on February 13 and 18 to comment but did not do so.

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