06:51PM, Friday 14 August 2015
New methods to ease congestion in the Royal Borough were trialled at the weekend – but the biggest test is yet to come.
Traffic lights at the junction of Clewer Hill Road and Winkfield Road, and the junction of Imperial Road and St Leonards Road in Windsor were manually operated for the second weekend in a row.
The aim is to find a way to reduce traffic at peak times around tourist destinations.
The trial will be repeated this weekend when 29,000 people descend on Ascot Racecourse for the Red Bull Air Race.
Cllr Colin Rayner, cabinet member for highways and transport, said this will be the ‘biggest test yet’.
“We have a lot of tourists coming to Windsor,” he said. “Automatic traffic lights remember how the traffic works at different times of the day but they can’t cope with the tourist season.”
He said as part of the trials, the borough has been working with Legoland to direct people via three alternative routes on leaving the resort to ease congestion.
Cllr Rayner added: “This is only a short-term sticky plaster job.
“We’re hoping for some changes to the traffic lights later in the year and we’re hoping to get pinch point funding from the Government in the next three or four years.”
But Barry Giggins from Dedworth disagrees with Cllr Rayner and thinks the manual operation decreased the flow of vehicles.
The 72-year-old retired civil engineer undertook his own traffic count on Friday and Saturday at the Imperial Road junction to see how many cars got through each green phase.
He said: “During the manual operation, vehicles were given very long phase times on all approaches, mainly because long queues developed on the other approaches.
“Consequently there were only 17 cycles and hour on Saturday compared with 48 on Friday.
“The total flow on Friday was 657 vehicles per hour and on Saturday, under manual operation, it was 63 less at 594 per hour.”
Cllr Rayner said he 'appreciates all the hard work' of Mr Giggins but maintains that manually controlling the traffic lights is a good short term fix and way to suss out the problems
He said: "I do feel for the residents that get caught up in the traffic.
"My view is that if we're down there watching it for hours on end we will be able to actually see the problems.
"We have written to Barry before explaining what we're doing. We're trying to work with everybody."
More than 50 street parties are set to take place this weekend across the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead and the surrounding areas.
An independent report into a Conservative councillor has found a breach of the Royal Borough’s code of conduct in a document seen by the Advertiser.