The traffic engineer who wrote about the new traffic lights in Earsdon Road (News Guardian, June 5) I am presuming works for the council, and certainly subscribes to the philosophy that if the council isn’t paying for something it must be good, no matter how catastrophic the consequences.
The writer does not address any of the detailed design faults I pointed out in my previous letter, and appeals to a need to take a wider view, citing in particular the increasing volumes of traffic in the area.
Presumably there was a sudden massive increase in that traffic overnight from when the lights were not operating to the day they were switched on, and that is the reason for the present chaos?
If the correspondent had attended the planning appeal 18 months ago, they would know that I questioned the expert traffic engineer, who said no significant changes would be required to Earsdon Road to accommodate the traffic from West Park.
That ‘expert’ implicitly admitted that his predictions were made using techniques which to me (having planned the flows of goods in an industrial context) are three decades out of date - the same techniques as have been used in planning the new lights.
What has changed since that expert made his confident assertion? Simple, Taylor Wimpey now has its planning approval.
At the appeal I advocated an arrangement which would have greatly mitigated the effect of the new estate.
Specifically, an eight-foot sound bank situated along the east side of Earsdon Road, providing protection for a cycleway on the non-road side, with a wildlife corridor on the estate side of that to continue the existing one down Monkseaton Drive.
The developers have put profit before the local environment, and have now made this impossible by building right up to the road.
With this proposal, the entrances to West Park and the Wellfield estate could have been at a single roundabout and, by integrating an approach ramp into the sound bank and with the existing rises in the ground level, it would have been easy to incorporate a pedestrian/cycle bridge over Earsdon Road, with far greater safety and without traffic lights to inconvenience cars, pedestrians, cyclists or the disabled.
One final point. I believe the new lights have been configured as they are because of a misreading of the Highways Agency’s standards.
Instead the two junctions (to Wellfield and to West Park) could – and should – be treated as separate junctions with one set of lights for each, operating independently of each other. But they were designed by a traffic engineer.
I believe it now seems clear that Taylor Wimpey misled the planning appeal, so North Tyneside surely has grounds to demand that West Park be replanned to eliminate the disastrous current junctions, which will unnecessarily inconvenience thousands of people for decades to come.
Dr AM Hulme