THE Palma city council has started to change the traditional yellow traffic lights in the city centre for new lights which are black. According to council sources, the traffic department will change all the yellow posts supporting traffic lights to black over the next few months, in the historical part of the city. Work started on Wednesday, and the project will affect Avenida Jaime III, Plaza Juan Carlos, the Borne, Calle Union, the Rambla, Baron de Pinopar and Plaza de la Reina. Councillor José Manuel Sierra said that the decision was taken after receiving a note from the National Heritage Board, recommending the change of colour of traffic lights to reduce the visual impact on visitors. The change is taking place not just in Palma, but all over the country. It will not cost the taxpayer any extra, as the changes come under the city council's annual plan for maintaining and replacing traffic lights. Now all that remains is to persuade drivers to respect the lights, as going through a red light is a common offence in the city. Fifty-eight of the 2'484 fines imposed by the new motorbike patrols in their first month were for failing to respect traffic lights. A further 59 were for using a mobile phone while driving, 102 for parking in a loading and unloading zone, and 14 for not wearing a seat belt. The unit, which started operations in November, has 45 officers, who deal only with traffic problems in Palma. Yesterday, while one work brigade was engaged in changing traffic lights, another was employed in repairs in the tunnel linking the Via Alemany with Calle General Riera. As a result, the tunnel was closed to traffic between 10am and 11am, during which time, drivers were advised of alternative routes. The tunnel has helped ease the traffic congestion in the Avenidas, the main thoroughfare in Palma. But the council's efforts to reduce the amount of traffic in the city centre have not met with much success. The plans are based on improving public transport and building a network of underground carparks throughout the city. Opponents to the scheme allege that the carparks only encourage drivers to bring their cars into the city centre, where parking is at a premium.