‘Traffic light change for Olympics caused Barking and Dagenham trade slump’
� Businesses in Barking and Dagenham say they saw trade suffer as a result of traffic light timings being changed during the Olympic and Paralympic Games.
A number of traffic lights along the A13 were re-phased by Transport for London (TfL) at the beginning of the Games to keep the Olympic route network moving.
But Barking and Dagenham Chamber of Commerce said that because the lights, which have now been reset, were red for longer they caused major tail-backs on most days.
This, they explained, led to people avoiding parts of the borough and as a result many businesses saw trade fall.
President of the chamber, Lloyd Johnson, said the group and Barking and Dagenhem Council asked TfL to change the phasing back to normal when it became clear that traffic was not as busy during the Olympic period as had been anticipated.
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“Within a few days of the Olympics starting it was obvious that the roads were no-where near as congested as everyone thought they would be, so we felt they should have changed the lights back but they didn’t which was very disappointing,” Mr Johnson told the Post.
The fast-food store manager said he had spoken to business owners and managers who said their trade was down during the Olympics.
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He added: “Obviously there could be other factors behind this too, but people have said they avoided coming into certain areas of Barking and Dagenham because they were forced to wait at the lights so long.
“I think the Games were generally very well organised, but I believe this aspect could have been dealt with better.”
Leon Daniels, managing director of surface transport at TfL, said: “The changes to traffic signals acted to slow the significant flow of traffic towards the Olympic route network in central London.
“Our engineers monitored the locations and adjusted the signal timings whenever possible to minimise disruption to all road users.
“The fact that Londoners changed the way they travelled meant that transport was one of the successes of the Games.”