HC Deb 01 July 1931 vol 254 cc1266-7
30. Mr. R. S. YOUNG

asked the Minister of Transport the result of the special traffic regulations in Oxford Street?

34. Sir G. PENNY

asked the Minister of Transport whether he will make a statement as to the working of the new traffic regulations in Oxford Street; and whether any steps are being taken to ameliorate the congestion in the side streets and to deal with the increased danger to pedestrians?


The new traffic regulations were brought into operation in Oxford Street on 22nd June and are part of a scheme which includes the introduction of traffic control signals. It is, therefore, premature to form any final opinion as to the working of the regulations until the signalling installation has been in operation for a reasonable trial period. At present the traffic is being controlled by constables on point duty in order that drivers of vehicles may gain experience of the effect of the regulations, but the additional advantages which may be expected from the accurate and co-ordinated timing of the periods during which traffic is held up or released at the various street intersections cannot be secured until the signals themselves are brought into operation. Some time must necessarily elapse before drivers of vehicles, as well as pedestrians, have become familiar with the altered conditions, and the experiment will be closely watched from the point of view of the safety as well as the convenience of all classes of road users.


Is it not a fact that even with this inadequate experiment so far Oxford Street is much less congested?


I have visited Oxford Street, and I think, certainly, that on the whole it has improved. There are bound to be difficulties during the first period of control, and no final opinion can be expressed until the light signals have had a reasonable trial.


What is the right hon. Gentleman doing to ameliorate the congestion in the side streets?


That is an aspect of the matter which is being watched. Of course, particularly in the early stages, some difficulties might arise, but we shall watch them carefully. The whole experiment will be subject to review after two or three months' trial.


Has the Minister been made aware of the result of the new traffic regulations as shown in these papers?


Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the light signals are in operation at midnight and onwards, but that vehicles pay no attention to them? Is not that a dangerous process?


At the moment they are not effectively in operation at all. We are, so to speak, experimenting with them during the night hours. Certain other experiments are taking place until they are permanently in operation; but there is no serious use of the light signals so far.


In view of the congestion that exists at the present time, could not the right hon. Gentleman suspend this experiment until the light signals are ready?


No, Sir. It was decided that we should have this experimental period without the light signals in order that we can gradually work into them, and, on the whole, I think that is the sound thing to do.