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From traditional roundabouts to signalised junctions: Allen Avenue junction as a case study

By Gbenga Onabanjo

Let me be upfront here: I am a lover of the traditional roundabouts bequeathed to us by the British, just as I am an advocate of the parliamentary system of government. The signalised junction is good in an environment where infrastructural support and discipline are available. However, given our peculiarities, it may not be ideal at this time.

When the idea to intervene and improve on Allen Avenue junction was mooted, I had my reservations about the removal of the roundabout and replacing with a signalised junction. I wondered why the option of introducing a multi-lane flyover along the Obafemi Awolowo Road was not considered. My reasons are not farfetched:

Ikeja is the commercial centre and the seat of the Executive Governor of Lagos State.
Ikeja generates a lot of commerce for the State and considerable revenue accrues to it on account of the business activities from the area.
If flyovers could be erected along Mobolaji Bank Anthony Way and Oba Akran Avenue in the 80s and 90s, when the vehicular population was less than half of what it is currently, a much bigger and sophisticated flyover should be ideal for the year 2010 and beyond.
If cost is the issue, a computation of economic losses suffered due to man-hours lost due to traffic will favour the choice of erecting a flyover that would enhance more economic activities.
However, if truly the resources available cannot accommodate the erection of a flyover, I would have opted for an expanded but signalised multi-lane roundabout. To make this to work, a massive public enlightenment campaign would need to be put out through various media.

A 60-second video of the situation at the junction at any time of the day will reveal the inherent challenges faced by motorists there. The following are my observations after being on duty at the junction for an hour as a Traffic Marshal.

The bus stops are located too close to the junction. This impedes traffic considerably because of the indiscipline of our commercial bus drivers. The locations should be reviewed, particularly the stops along Obafemi Awolowo Road.
There is a need for pedestrian control barriers to be put in place along the junctions to prevent pedestrians milling unto the road at will and causing obstructions to free flow of traffic.
Aromire Road is noted to be the major cause of the gridlock. The three other carriageways are large enough to contain the traffic flowing into them. However, Aromire Road acts as a funnel, which causes a lot of traffic tailback. The entire stretch of Aromire Road needs to be dualised. This should be carried through to Adeniyi Jones Avenue for the efforts to be effective.
In addition to the offside markings at the junctions, directional signs showing the lanes and swing of the vehicles should be inscribed on the road floor to aid motorists to keep to their lanes in a multi-lane junction.
Marked out signs should be inscribed on the road floor: Left Turn Only, Right Turn Only, etc.
Provisions should be made for a motorbike park at the junction neighbourhood. Motorcyclists should be prevented from clogging the pedestrian walkways at the junctions.
The pedestrian signals must be restored in good time to enhance pedestrian safety.
The signals should be programmed to allow vehicles making U-turns and turning left in opposite directions to go at the same time. These vehicles making U-turns should stay on the innermost lane, close to the median.
Motorists and cyclists should be advised, encouraged or forced to stay behind the STOP sign line.
Motorists and cyclists should be advised, encouraged or coerced to keep to the designated lanes.
Motorists and cyclists should be advised, encouraged or coerced to obey the traffic signals.
The pedestrian crosswalks should be kept free for pedestrians to walk on.
The rule of law must be enforced at the junctions. Video cameras can be introduced. All traffic offenders should be brought to book.
Alternative power source should be provided as a backup during power outages.
Traffic officers should be stationed at the junction continuously for at least a month to introduce and instill the proper driving culture at this junction in the new year to make the investments to be worth its while. The billboard at the Aromire junction could also be used to illustrate and drive home these messages.

Onabanjo is the founder of GO-FORTE FOUNDATION, an organisation dedicated to the restoration of the environment.

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