What was wrong with the old system?

5211005 SSFF new junction 'bus having to swing out wide to traverse the new junction at the Adam Smith Centre, Kirkcaldy

5211005 SSFF new junction 'bus having to swing out wide to traverse the new junction at the Adam Smith Centre, Kirkcaldy

4
Have your say

Fsinally, after months of roadworks the new traffic lights have been switched on at the site of the former Adam Smith Roundabout last Tuesday - only to run into a storm of controversy.

Since they became operational motorists have been left frustrated as the signals and new road layout at one of the busiest junctions in the town centre sparked lengthy delays and tailbacks on all approaches.

Traffic backed up round the Town House and as far up as Bennochy Bridge as a result of the decision to remove all slipways and narrow the roads to single file.

The Press office has been inundated with calls and letters from members of the public regarding the new layout - and very few have been positive.

Drivers have faced long tailbacks on the surrounding roads, caused simply by cars trying to turn right - buses cannot get past, sparking more hold-ups.

There are also reports of drivers doing U-turns to avoid sitting in traffic jams and seeking out ‘rat runs’ along Sang Road ... only to run into the back of another tailback!

Some have used the Esso garage forecourt as a shortcut to avoid the junction altogether.

Congestion

Pedestrians have also expressed concerns at the short period of time the green man remains on for those wishing to cross the roa- , one timed it at just 4.9 seconds!

Many readers have also questioned the need for the changes - and blame them for causing traffic congestion which was not there before.

After a few days of long jams the signal timings at the junction were changed on Thursday in a bid to ease the problems - only traffic from direction at a a time had the green light.

But, at busy periods this didn’t seem to help reduce the lengthy tailbacks on the approaches as drivers waited longer for their turn to get through the lights.

The work on the project to create a ‘Green Corridor’ between the town’s bus and railway stations, easing access to the town centre for pedestrians and cyclists began in May this year.

The project saw the removal of the long-standing roundabout - one of the first to be installed in Kirkcaldy - and traffic lights installed. Pavements were widened and roads narrowed to one lane.

Complaints

Local politicians admit they have been swamped with complaints.

David Torrance, Kirkcaldy MSP and councillor, told the Press: “My office has been inundated with complaints about the junction - not so much when it was just the roundabout but now the lights are working it is causing long tailbacks.

“Everybody, including me, feels it should have been left as a roundabout.

“In my opinion they should use the traffic lights only to allow pedestrians to cross and keep it as a roundabout. I will be speaking to transportation services about this.”

Alice Soper, chairman of Kirkcaldy Area Committee, said: “There have been hiccups over the last few weeks of the work and this is a bit of a worry for me. I certainly will be asking questions about this.

“The proposals for the whole development, which we saw some time ago, were to widen the pavements and ease access for pedestrians and cyclists, but it shouldn’t make it more difficult for people in cars.

“I certainly will be asking transportation to have a good look at this and get it sorted out.”

Councillor Judy Hamilton said she had been contacted by concerned residents.

She told the Press: “At the moment it’s causing gridlock at certain times of day and it can’t be a ‘green corridor’ if it’s adding to carbon emissions and air pollution by causing traffic jams, but I am sure things can be resolved.

‘Green’ credentials

“We were told it would take about six weeks for the lights to bed in.

‘‘I understand it may take slightly longer with the holidays and people not being in their usual routine.

‘‘But at the moment I have concerns about its green credentials.

‘‘I think we need to sit down with transportation and see what can be resolved.”

Carroll Haxton, chairman of Kirkcaldy4All, said: “We recognise the difficulties to the public, businesses and retailers.

“People waiting at the lights are using the side streets to avoid the junction which is having a knock on effect.

“We are in discussions with Fife Council.”

Defending the ‘Green Corridor’ and the changes at the junction this week, Angus Carmichael, asset management and projects team leader, said: “The new road layout and junction have been put in place to enhance safety for all road users.

“Our aim here was to make sure both vehicles and pedestrians are catered for and that has been achieved with this new arrangement.

“We were aware of when the lights were due to be activated and a member of staff was present when that happened.

“However, we are also aware of concerns raised from motorists about timings of the lights and are looking into the matter.

“With any junction, the timings of the lights and crossings have to be synchronised after they are installed.

“That means taking into account issues like the flow of traffic and refining and changing timings if necessary.

“We would like to reassure everyone we are monitoring the situation closely and we’d like to ask them for their patience whilst we do this.”