Traffic lights switched off in Prom pilot

Two sets of traffic light son the Promenade will be switched off today.
Two sets of traffic light son the Promenade will be switched off today.
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A move to switch off traffic lights on a stretch of Blackpool Promenade has met with a mixed reaction from transport operators.

Blackpool Council is turning off two sets of signals temporarily to see if the move helps ease congestion on the Prom between North Pier and New Bonny Street.

Today sees the lights switched off at the junction of New Bonny Street and the Promenade, although they remain in force to the south of the intersection for pedestrian use.

On Monday, the same will happen at the junction of Talbot Road and the Promenade.

The signals will remain on the north side of the junction, and function as an on-demand puffin crossing.

Highways chiefs intend to monitor traffic flow over the following days and weeks.

Taxi and bus operators in the resort said they had been made aware of the move.

Bill Lewtas, of the Blackpool Licensed Taxi Association, said: “Opinion among the taxi drivers is divided.

“Some think it might be a good thing, but others think the opposite so we will just have to see how it turns out.”

Bus operators in the town said they welcomed anything to get traffic moving.

Bob Mason, director of delivery at Blackpool Transport, said: “Our view is it hopefully cannot make the Promenade any worse than it is currently, and any scheme which improves the flow of traffic to assist public transport must be beneficial to our customers and staff.”

Philip Higgs, of Classic Bus North West, said: “Any trials that improve traffic flow on the Promenade during the summer months are welcome, particularly if they better inform the decisions required to remodel the Promenade this winter to resolve the problems once and for all.”

The council has set out five options for the future of Central Promenade between New Bonny Street and North Pier, following complaints of congestion.

Coun John Jones, (pictured) cabinet member for highways, said: “We are currently looking at various ways we can reduce the amount of congestion on the Promenade.

“One option we are looking at is the effect the traffic signals have on vehicles.

“We will be keeping a close eye on the impact that this trial has on traffic, and will use that data to help us to come up with a final decision.”

The findings will be presented at the next executive meeting on July 15.