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red light norwich

One curious thing that many people say about Norwich for the first time, after the great shopping etc, is why on earth are there so many traffic lights in places that really don’t seem to need them. Although a mainly Vespa driver in the city, it is really frustrating even for me to whizz to the front of the many queues for traffic lights and see so little action at the crossing they are there to control..Take Chapelfield roundabout. Last year, the lights were out due to some new ‘traffic management’ being installed. For the first time in ages, traffic flowed naturally. There were hardly any traffic queues. Everything flowed nicely and you could sense the palpable relief in drivers. Lights were turned on, queues arrived, along with a visible sense of frustration. Even on a Sunday morning, as I scoot up Earlham Rd via the Chappy roundabout, the queues are formidable and visible at every junction.

Whilst I understand the need to manage traffic, it seems a very poor way of doing it. There’s such poor flow of traffic around the roundabouts because of the lights, You can sense that thought in people’s minds: “There’s nothing happening, so why I dont just cut through the lights..” Whilst I don’t advocate breaking the law, you can see just about everywhere the increasing amount of traffic doing so, and increasing amount of near misses as a result.

Whilst I am on the Subject of Traffic Lights – Crossings

The new style of crossing that are plaguing Norwich streets are dangerous because of a highly visible design fault. You can’t clearly see if it’s safe to cross. Look at the bemused faces of pedestrians trying to use them. Look at the accidents that HAVE happened as a result of the confusion.Look at how people are abandoning the lights completely and simply looking at the lights for the traffic as an indicator if it is safe to cross.


I struggle to understand what the motive and expense is for these changes. The results are far worse than what they replace, more costly, more dangerous and are contributing to environmental damage and accidents in a way their predecessors never did. Whilst they may all be in place to facilitate some change elsewhere (like increased cycle lanes) which I am happy to support, the implementation of them seems bonkers.

When the Chappy lights broke down, the traffic again flowed well. Back on again, there are the queues. Surely this simple observation made by thousands of road users and pedestrians should be evidence of something not working correctly? After all, everyone is paying for these lights so surely we should have a say in them?

Talking to a local MP recently, there have been many many complaints about the lights in Norwich. I dare say there are 10s of thousands of people who feel the same way but dont take the time to write in. I wonder if someone somewhere in the councils responsible for these changes is willing to admit they seem to have got something terribly wrong..