A petition set up by a councillor to move the Hornet traffic lights in Chichester has gone online.
The pedestrian crossing at Market Avenue and St Pancras was moved when planning permission was granted for a convenience store in Unicorn House. However, Sainsbury’s pulled out of the move and it opened as a restaurant, Giggling Squid.
Cllr Jamie Fitzjohn, county councillor for Chichester South, has set up the petition to move the lights back.
The online petition reads:
“Are you frustrated by the unnecessary traffic queues in The Hornet when all you want to do is drive round to St Pancras? Remember how traffic flowed so easily before the lights were moved?”
Market Avenue is the one of the busiest pedestrian crossings in the whole of West Sussex. During busy times, approximately every 30 seconds, the lights turn red to allow pedestrians to cross Market Avenue.
Since the re-siting of the lights, motorists are unable to drive round into St Pancras or go straight across to East Street as easily as they could before.
Research has shown that when The Hornet lights are red, traffic trying to turn into St Pancras was blocked for up to 78 per cent of the time and up to 56 per cent of the time even when the lights were green, as drivers queuing up to cross into East street blocked the flow of traffic.
West Sussex County Council Highways had originally agreed to return the lights to their original position after the restaurant took over the premises but have now declined.
At a recent meeting of Chichester City Council, Cllr Fitzjohn said:
“There is no legal requirement to keep those lights there. They can move because it is now a restaurant which does not need a crossing in front of it.
“The best solution, and everyone agrees with this, including West Sussex engineers, and the proposal I have put forward is to take the lights away and replace it with a zebra crossing.
“If you replace it with a zebra crossing, you keep traffic flowing because you will only have to stop when a pedestrian wants to cross.
“I want as many residents, users and drivers to sign this.
“I will stand at those lights and tap the windows of those in their cars. One, to tell them to turn off their engines to stop idling but also to hand them the website address.
“We need to get the Hornet moving, because if we keep that traffic there it is damaging businesses, damaging the economy, increasing pollution and damaging the lives of people who live in that area.
“They are in the wrong place and should be moved. It was an error and if you make a mistake, you put it right.”