Back to my favourite subject; roundabouts in Livingston. They’re bad enough with the non-standard Highway Code direction arrows marked on the road… but how to make them even more ludicrous? After all, the whole purpose of a roundabout junction is to ease traffic flow and keep all the vehicles on the go. Isn’t it? If the wheels are turning the traffic is moving.

That being the case, what was in the minds of the road planning and traffic management geniuses that made them think it would ease traffic flow if they put a series of stop-go traffic lights on a roundabout?  It defies logic; and it defies common sense.

Take the Almondvale Roundabout on Alderstone Road. The forest of traffic lights on that junction certainly doesn’t aid traffic flow. By my precise calculations, an arthritic granny on a Space Hopper could make it through that particular junction in less time than a boy racer in his Subaru.

I found a satellite photograph taken of that roundabout. It was obviously taken on a quiet morning, but even so, it shows a far higher percentage of cars sitting at the traffic lights in comparison to cars actually going anywhere – 12 to 2 in fact. Even by a rough calculation, during rush hour that means for every 100 cars there will only be about 17 actually going anywhere at any one point in time! The other 83 are just queued there, pumping out exhaust fumes.

And even when you do eventually get to move, you have to stop halfway round becausethere is another queue. Stopping on a roundabout – how could the designers ever possibly even consider that a good idea?

Mind you, if they think traffic lights on a roundabout helps promote traffic flow, you have to ask yourself what they’ll come up with next. Speed bumps on the exit slip? A wild, curving maze of traffic cones? No, wait – concrete bollards at random points and in random lanes. That would do the trick.

Remember, you saw it here first.

Drew McAdam


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