A personal blog/website from local resident Cllr John Hunt

Traffic Lights at the Silk Mills/Bishop’s Hull Hill/Mountway Road junction.

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UPDATE:11th November 2016
Here is an email from SCC in reply to the recent Facebook comments made on our Parish Council page…

Thank you for your email clarifying the issues and in addition I have read the comments on Facebook to gain a full understanding. The comments regarding the crossing areas have helped us pin point where the issues are. I have revisited the site with one of our senior maintenance engineers and we did manage to pin point a couple of black spots within the detection zones of the crossing detectors, following this the maintenance contractor has rectified the issues and the crossings are now working as they should.

Following the recent comments regarding the cycle time and pedestrian crossing time, we have looked into the issue further. After an in-depth investigation we reloaded the controlling software data to remove any possible ‘glitches’ that may have affected the ‘hurry call’ during the school peak-periods. Following this action and subsequent extensive monitoring we can confirm that this facility is now working as it should.

The cycle time for this junction ranges from 88 seconds to 96 Seconds and this is within national guidelines for a junction with pedestrian facilities.

The wait for the pedestrian stage to run is very dependent on when the push button is pushed within that cycle. When there are vehicle demands all around the junction, pedestrians will inevitably have to wait longer. However if there are few or no vehicle demands the pedestrian facilities can operate very quickly, in reality this will be something in between.

During the hurry call times if the button is pushed while the main road is running, pedestrians will have to wait for around 30 seconds and if the main road is not running they will have to wait around 40 seconds which will allow any other demands that are already placed to be serviced. As stated in a in my first email we are unable to run the hurry call all the time as this would have a massive detrimental effect to the traffic flow along Silk Mills Road.

I hope the above reassures you we have taken an active approach to the issues you have raised.

Below is the original post…

On the 14th of October, I added a post to the Bishop’s Hull Parish Council‘s Facebook group and in reply, many of you brought to our attention some issues relating to the Traffic Lights at the Silk Mills/Bishop’s Hull Hill/Mountway Road junction.
As you’re already aware, I contacted the Traffic control department at Somerset County Council, who promised they would get back to me and they have duly done so.
Below is the content of the in-depth email I received from them yesterday (28/10/16).
Please note, I’ve added an image (top left) above to show what they are explaining in their answer to the question “There is no audible noise at the junction”.

I have replied to this email (28/10/16) saying, if anyone has any further queries or suggestions, I would contact them again…

Dear Mr Hunt,

Thank you for contacting the traffic control department regarding various queries concerning the traffic signal junction at Silk Mills Rd / Mountway Rd, Taunton.

I will answer the concerns in the order they were posted on facebook.

· The ‘regularity’ of the green man has been reduced in the last week or so.

We have made no recent changes to the traffic signal timings at this junction in addition there are currently no faults with the traffic signals. In October 2013 we did make some changes to the timings which included placing a pedestrian hurry call during the school peak between 08:30 – 09:15 and 15:15 – 16:00. This is where the controller will reduce the amount of green time the vehicles receive in a bid to reduce the waiting times for pedestrian. It was decided to only run the hurry call during these times this is the peak pedestrian demand period and would reduce the amount of children waiting at any one time. Within traffic signal design the aim is to share all the available green time out fairly while still keeping junction running safely and efficiently, as this junction has an all-round pedestrian stage it would cause a massive detrimental effect to traffic flow if the pedestrian hurry call ran all day.

· Habit of cancelling the light (push button) if it’s been pushed and you’re not stood on the right part of the bumpy paving.

It may be best to begin by explaining how the crossing works and reasons for its design. The pedestrian element of the junction uses various detectors to place demands and extensions to allow the junction to run more efficiently and change to the user’s needs be it vehicles or pedestrians. One detector looks down on the tactile paving area (bumpy paving) and monitors if a pedestrian pushes the button and if the pedestrian decides to cross before the green man appears or moves away from the area of detection the controller will not run the green man as there is no need to. The second detector monitors the pedestrian movements from when they leave the tactile paving area until they reach the tactile paving on the opposite side of the road, this detector will extend red to vehicles to ensure any slow moving pedestrians are on the other side of the road before moving to the next approach with a demand. We use tactile paving not only to guide vulnerable users to the correct and safest area to cross but for all users. These methods and detectors are approved and used nationally.

We have recently visited the junction and ensured this equipment is working as it should.

· There is no audible noise at the junction.

All traffic signal junctions with pedestrian facilities do not have audible devices and this junction never had one. The reason for this is that at some junctions the pedestrian facility will run at different times and as the crossing points are in close proximity it could give a visually impaired person misguiding information of when to cross. At all traffic signal sites it is now a national standard to install a tactile device. This can be found under the right hand push button and will rotate for the same amount of time as the green man appears, it is a recognised method by the RNIB and other visually impaired associations. Again this is another example why we use tactile paving and why it is in the shape of a backwards ‘L’ as this guides the visually impaired person to the correct push button. It is now SCC standard to place tactile cones under all push buttons. I would encourage you to check it out as it is only recently the technology has advanced so that the devices can now report automatically if they were faulty, before this we relied on members of the public to report if they are not working. Just for reassurance we do carry out a periodic inspection of every traffic signal site across Somerset.

I hope the above answer the queries you have had.

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