There was a time, not so long ago, when pedestrians were supposed to be the top priority for the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson.
No longer, it would seem: as well as Croydon having some of the capital’s most dangerous pedestrian crossings, now Transport for London wants to spend public money to remove a pelican crossing from the busy Purley Way.
The crossing, used by anyone who might be going to or from Waddon Ponds, is on one of the busiest stretches of road in the borough, situated just past a major T junction, sited between Waddon Park Avenue and Alton Road. Even youthful, able-bodied and swift of foot pedestrians would take their lives in their hands if they dared to try to cross the road without the use of a crossing.
The TfL reasoning for spending public money to take away a life-saving crossing?
- Usage of the crossing is too low. In which case, it really ought not be a problem, since the crossing is only active when people need it and therefore not holding up motor traffic when pedestrians are not using it to cross the road;
- Drivers keep blocking the crossing: “Due to regular congestion in the area, traffic often blocks the crossing, which means that it does not provide a clear and unobstructed place to cross”. In which case, a public authority such as TfL should be enforcing Section 168 of the Highway Code, which requires car drivers to keep clear of crossings when in stationary traffic. And then there’s…
- “…the site also has a history of non-compliance from motorists, which resulted in the installation of a red light camera to prevent motorists from ignoring the red traffic signals.”
So there we have it… TfL would prefer not to uphold the law and prosecute law-breakers in cars who drive through red lights, rather than provide pedestrians with a place to cross the road conveniently and safely.
Not mentioned in the proposal from TfL is the cost of the works in removing the crossing, nor the presence near to the crossing of two bus stops. Clearly, bus passengers may well need to use the crossing to get to the stop, and their journeys may well be rendered a good deal more dangerous, even deadly, if they have to cross the Purley Way without the benefit of a crossing.
“The proposed removal of the crossing does seem to be a good example of the Mayor’s commitment to ‘traffic smoothing’ conflicting with making London’s roads safer, more accessible and greater used by pedestrians,” a Liberal Democrat spokesman at City Hall told Inside Croydon.
“Some cyclists are waking up to the fact that Boris doesn’t really represent many cyclists – he certainly doesn’t get walking!”
It would be helpful if the three ward councillors for Waddon would get in touch with Inside Croydon (firstname.lastname@example.org, in case you’ve forgotten, Clare…) to outline what they are going to do in the interests of their residents.
Waddon councillors include Simon Hoar, the Croydon Council cabinet member for “Community Safety”, so you’d hope he’d have a view.
Perhaps all three could take up the matter with someone at City Hall, such as Britain’s most overpaid local councillor, Steve O’Connell, for whom one of his jobs is on the Greater London Authority Transport Committee.
- Inside Croydon: brought to you from the heart of the borough, free of charge, an independent voice standing for freedom of speech for the people of Croydon
- Croydon pedestrians risk death on unsafe crossings (insidecroydon.com)
- You’re dung for! Coulsdon and Waddon on sludge lorry route (insidecroydon.com)
- TfL and corporate manslaughter of London cyclists – key issues (kingscrossenvironment.com)
- Corporate Manslaughter – is TfL a serial offender? (cycling-intelligence.com)
Brilliant article and shocking that Transport for London has got the nerve to put forward this proposal as something positive – they claim that “a number of benefits could be realised including urban realm enhancements”.
People using the Alton Road bus stops for the 289 (Elmers End to Purley) and 407 (Sutton to Caterham) services will no longer have a safe and convenient place to cross nearby. Instead, TfL’s goons are saying that “it is considered that the safety of pedestrians would be better served by directing more vulnerable users to the signal-controlled junction 65m to the south”.
Presumably less vulnerable users can take their chances and run across the road, while those unable to do this will have to walk further and take longer to cross by walking up to the McDonald’s drive-thru and waiting at three pedestrians crossings to cross Purley Way.
People concerned about this daft plan should click on https://consultations.tfl.gov.uk/streets/traffic-signal-croydon and tell TfL where to stick this plan – their deadline is Thursday 9 February 2012.
Waddon residents can make sure their councillors take this up – http://www.croydon.gov.uk/aya/pages/aya/aya.html?tab=home will help find the contact details.