Tayside and Central Scotland

Blairgowrie traffic lights to be turned off in trial

Blairgowrie lights
Image caption Locals noticed traffic flowing much more easily when the lights were out of order

A Perthshire village is to switch off the traffic lights on its main street as part of a traffic management trial.

The two-week trial will see the main traffic signals at Wellmeadow in the centre of Blairgowrie turned off from Wednesday.

Local residents and businesses have been campaigning through the community council for the removal of the lights.

Temporary pedestrian crossings will be set up in and around Wellmeadow to provide designated crossing points.

Trials in other towns across the UK have suggested removing traffic lights and leaving drivers to use common sense when negotiating junctions can ease congestion without affecting safety.

Following a successful try-out in the English town of Portishead, campaigners argued that having no traffic lights forced drivers to make eye contact and take more responsibility.

However, a plan to replace controlled crossings with a "shared space" in Kirkintilloch were scaled back after concerns were raised by locals.

Image copyright Mike Pennington
Image caption Local residents and businesses hope the trial will cut congestion in the town centre

For the duration of the Blairgowrie trial, vehicles on the A93 will have priority, with other drivers expected to give way to them, and the local speed limit will be set to 20mph.

Local representatives said traffic could be left waiting at the lights for five minutes at a time, putting people off coming to the town and damaging trade.

The idea for the trial was raised when the traffic lights broke down one Christmas, leaving traffic to flow freely with less delays.

A spokeswoman for Perth and Kinross Council said: "The information gathered during the trial will be used to identify the most beneficial way to manage traffic for drivers, pedestrians and businesses operating in the Wellmeadow area."

The trial is to run until 24 June.

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