Switch Island – That red Light jumping, why is it at such epic and dangerous proportions?

So why do drivers jump red lights? Is it attention seeking? Is it an alpha male issue? Is it inability to reasonably calculate travelling time? Is is just stupidity and not paying attention to the road? Is it simply being confused by a complicated junction?

Of course it is all of these and other factors too but for some reason the building of Brooms Cross Road and particularly its junction with Switch Island has really brought home to many of us how much red light jumping goes on and the consequences of it.

The Maghull Community Facebook Page records many of the incidents, the Champion newspaper has written on the problem too and a local MP has even raised the matter in Parliament. So it has certainly got our attention and no mistake.

Having campaigned for the new road to be built over a dozen year period or more I must say that I always had at the back of my mind that Switch Island was just going to be too complicated with another road added to it. Indeed, I recall talking to highway engineers about my wish to see a fly-over built connecting the M57 to the new road. I raised this both locally and at regional highway stakeholder events but it was very clear that the money to do this was simply not there.

I’m not going to say I told you so because that would be churlish and anyway the major objective of getting the road built was to try to address the appalling congestion on Lydiate Lane and/Green Lane in Thornton.

Of course red light jumping is not the fault of there being no fly-over but it is the cause of accidents at Switch Island. So you could say I suppose that hot-headed drivers who can’t take congestion red light jump to try to gain an advantage over other road users. In other words put a delay on the highway system and there will always be drivers who will not wait patiently in the queues – we see such behaviors all over our roads of course.

I missed my uncle’s funeral last December because of an horrendous traffic jam on the M6 in the infamous contraflow section where a lorry had broken down. We were sat there for a long long time and yes it is incredibly frustrating when you have an important appointment to make. So does this sort of incident turn those with a short fuse into dangerous drivers? I suppose it does.

But often a Switch Island you can see red light jumpers doing their thing when the road is clear. It’s as though they have no intention of stopping for the traffic lights unless they literally have no choice. It’s like gambling – ‘I can do it’, ‘I can beat that gap’ or ‘well I’m going too fast to stop now so lets go for it’.

Trouble is that the junction’s at Switch Island are big so it takes a few more seconds to cross them than at a normal set of traffic lights. Crossing say 6 lanes worth of road on a red light run is surely far more dangerous than crossing 1 or 2. And the junction of Brooms Cross Road and Brickwall Lane (the only midway junction on the new road) is also a very wide junction and I am seeing red light jumping there too.

It’s also possible that on the odd occasion the red light jumping at Switch Island is also a consequence of it being such a complicated junction – so many sets of lights, so many traffic signs, so much written on the lanes around the junction. Let’s face it first time users would usually be daunted by it and not know which lane to use. Factor in satnavs not giving clearly understandable instructions and it’s a heady brew indeed!

Oh and by the way I saw some chaps doing surveys in the middle of the island yesterday late morning. Could they be the consultants appointed by the Highways Agency?

Maghull to Netherton – So many speed limits!

There’s a road that starts in Maghull and effectively runs all the way to the Edge Lane traffic lights by Bootle and Netherton Fire Station. It has various names along it’s relatively short length and even more speed limits.

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Starting with Sefton Lane at the junction with Liverpool Road South in Maghull it is 30mph. Just after it becomes Bridges Lane the limit rises to 40mph. When it becomes Brickwall Lane its back down to 30mph through Sefton Village, coming out of the Village it rises to 40mph and then across the junction with the new Brooms Cross Road it rises again to 50mph. Finally in drops to 40mph from there along Buckley Hill Lane to the Fire Station. This road is only 2 miles long in total!

Talk about confusing the motorist although you try sticking to 30mph through Sefton Village and see how many try to overtake you – it happens to me virtually every day.

Switch Island to Thornton Link Road – progress as junctions takes shape

This was the scene on Brickwall Lane just to the west of Sefton Village on Friday 30th January:-

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Street lamps are being erected and the junction with the new Broomscross Road is taking shape, all down to the campaigning of Thornton Parish Council and Thornton residents who were and are desperate for a by-pass around their congested community.

New Switch Island to Thornton Link Road – Brickwall Lane junction takes shape

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Please click on photo to enlarge it

This was the scene on Brickwall Lane, Sefton Village last week as curb stones associated with the junction of the new Switch Island to Thornton Link Road (to be called Brooms Cross Road) were being laid in.

Broomscross Road or Switch Island – Thornton Link Road

Going back to the early planning stages of this Link Road, which is presently being built, I made a plea for the historic Brickwall Lane wall to be sensitively taken down and properly rebuilt.

A small matter you may say but that wall is a part of the heritage of historic Sefton Village and its a wall I have had to badger Sefton Council to maintain in the past.

But my pleas, which I worried had not been heard, have been acted upon and the wall is being rebuilt at an angle where the new road will have a junction with Brickwall Lane. As you can guess the Lane was named after the rather unique wall with its triangular stone cappings. This is a rebuilt part of the wall and its looking great:-

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This next shot shows how the wall is being angled to form a feature on the southern side of the junction that is yet to be constructed:-

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It seems a long time ago that, in my then capacity as Leader of Sefton Council, I met the Roads Minister Mike Penning (at Switch Island) after he had announced that the Coalition was going to put up the Government’s share of the money to build the road following years of the previous Labour Government not stumping up the cash. In fact it was less than 4 years ago. Here’s a photo taken at the time:-

27th October 2010 - having just agreed the deal to build the Link Road with Coalition Roads Minister Mike Penning MP.

27th October 2010 – having just agreed the deal to build the Link Road with Coalition Roads Minister Mike Penning MP.