11:10am Thursday 29th May 2014
By Anna Slater
Campaigners are urging drivers to keep up the fight to install permanent traffic lights at a “death trap” junction as a trial period comes to an end.
Transport for London (TfL) finally agreed to test 24-hour traffic lights at Stirling Corner, on the border of Borehamwood and Barnet, after a ten year campaign.
Previously, lights were only on between 3.30pm and 5.30pm but hundreds complained the “lethal” roundabout would benefit from permanent signals.
But a year on since TfL's apparent change of heart, people now have until May 31 to register their views on whether the lights should become a permanent fixture.
Long-standing campaigner Sue Alford, of Hunter Close, Borehamwood, said: “We don’t to return to the days of people shaking with fear whenever they go through it.
“Part time lights cause more chaos, uncertainty and confusion to drivers. It’s basic common sense and it’s our safety they’re toying with.
“We’ll leave no stone unturned in ensuring Stirling Corner remains a safe place for everyone.”
So far, only 153 people have responded with their views, with the overall majority in favour of keeping the lights turned on.
But with 33,000 residents in Borehamwood alone, campaigners are reaching out to people in the “final hour”.
TfL is also consulting on whether to reduce the speed limit from 70mph to 50mph on the approach between Rowley Lane and Courtland Avenue, and the A1.
Pedestrians claim they struggle to cross the road to get to the Morrisons superstore, because traffic approaches from the A1 at speeds of up to 70mph.
There are also calls for better safety mechanisms for cyclists, a better exit for traffic exiting Morrisons and a tweak to the traffic light timings for at the southside to Barnet Lane.
Ms Alford added: “We cannot have our ten-year campaign fail at this late stage. We’re not sure what TfL might say and we’re worried.”
Fellow campaigner Tony DeSwarte, of Nash Close, said: “People need to get their views across. It’s a racetrack, and driving that fast is completely unnecessary.”
The proposals were originally spiked in 2000 by Barnet Council’s former cabinet member for environment Brian Coleman, who called them “madness".
But calls for increased safety measures grew louder after a spate of crashes in the area from 2003 to 2011, including a number of deaths.
GLA member for Barnet, Andrew Dismore, has been leading the campaign.
He said: “The trial has been a real success, and it would be a real disappointment if they changed their minds now that they’ve got the support of local people. It’s been more than ten years now.
“I am pleased that we no longer have Brian Coleman as an obstacle. It’s an important safety factor, and hopefully TfL will listen to our views on it.”
The Times Series is awaiting comment from Transport for London.
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