No surprise that the Vale Council’s officers are uncomfortable with statistics showing serious casualties have increased at the Barons court junction, since the Council converted it from a roundabout to light-controls (Penarth Times, June 19, page 4). We well remember the £-million cost and the weeks of traffic disruption in 2006.
By experience, two features make for serious accidents. Some motorists speed to get through on or just after the lights switch to red.
Second, occasional motorists avoid the red light by filtering left, then turning across the roadway into the opposite left filter lane. That happens both from the Cogan Spur and into the Cogan Spur from the Merrie Harrier.
The first shows failure to enforce traffic law, the second shows a design fault.
The Council’s officer is right that the former roundabout was unsafe for pedestrians and cyclists. But this junction is unsafe too. Many do not wait for the successive lights to change , for up to four changes for a straight-on movement. They are also at risk of more serious collisions from the above fast vehicle movements.
As a cyclist, I’m well aware that the traffic lane layout has excluded cyclists. No feed-in lanes are provided for cyclists to reach the Advanced Stop Lines, so I have to squeeze between lanes of queuing cars, particularly from Windsor Road. Cyclists’ straight-on movements from or to the Cogan Spur are also hairy due to vehicles filtering left.
Modern policy has pedestrians crossing directly in a separate phase of traffic lights. The Baron's Court design is the most hostile to pedestrians and cyclists and has surely deterred both categories. It’s surely time the Council faced up to their bad design and assessed the apparent decrease in numbers, contrary to policy to encourage and prioritise pedestrians and cyclists.
Some on the Vale Council want to repeat this huge mistake at Weycock Cross and other congested roundabouts on Barry’s Port Road. Let’s tell them of the serious accidents and pedestrian-hostile conditions at Baron's Court.