I’ve just spent a very wet hour standing at the St Margarets Roundabout with two guys from Transport for London (TfL) Signals. I know a lot more about traffic lights than I did before.

My gripe is specifically over the crossing on the North St Margarets side, on the Northbound side. Frequently. people turning left from the A316 don’t see the crossing, or assume it is the Northbound filter light, and go straight through the crossing when the light is red.

This is made worse by the fact that on one side of the road, the corner is completely blind, and so traffic can’t see a person waiting to cross, which otherwise would trigger the thought that it might be a pedestrian crossing, what TfL called a problem with “intervisibility”.

There a number of things that the Signals people can and will do. They are extending the crossing times across the whole roundabout. What that means is that the green man will be an “Invitation to Cross”, leaving something like 7-8 seconds when both the red man and the red light are displayed when you can still cross safely (at 1.2 metres per second, apparently). It’s a bit confusing as you usually associate the red man with danger, but I’m sure we’ll get used to it. But it will help safety

A major bonus for anyone crossing the A316 South to North is that if you push the right hand side of the two “WAIT” buttons, it will operate the crossing on both sides of the road ie, you will not have to wait on the middle island. This requires new software which will take a few months.

But here’s the big issue. To make the crossing (and its twin on the St Margarets side) safe, it needs to be moved 4-5 meters up the road (NB this is only one side of each crossing, which means a longer island). There are replacement works planned in the next few years, but this will not incorporate moving the signals, just getting new ones.

To get the crossings moved it needs Richmond and TfL Highways to agree a scheme, and to fund it. And guess what, Richmond has a pot of money that can only be used for transport projects that it got from the CCTV camera outside Tesco. It would be fitting if that money were used to improve local road safety.

Can I encourage concerned local residents (one of whom came up and joined the conversation with TfL!) to write to Ben Khosa (cllr.bkhosa@richmond.gov.uk) or one of our other councillors to get together with TfL and make this a reality

— from Nigel Canning

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