Kenley road island could cause more deaths, says campaigner

The scene of another road accident, this time a fatal one, on the A22 Godstone Road in the early hours of Saturday, is now a matter of dispute between local residents, cyclists, Mayor Boris Johnson and his cycling “advisor” Andrew Gilligan.

Kenley residents want a safe crossing of the Godstone Road, not a dangerous pedestrian "refuge"

Kenley residents want a safe crossing of the Godstone Road, not a dangerous pedestrian “refuge”

Steve O’Connell, the local councillor for Kenley and London Assembly Member for Croydon and Sutton, is pushing through a scheme for a traffic island near the junction of Hayes Lane, which the Croydon Cycling Campaign says will make the busy road more dangerous and could even cost someone their life.

A petition was set up by local residents more than a year ago calling for a proper pedestrian crossing: “We, the undersigned, are concerned about the lack of a proper, safe crossing for pedestrians across the busy A22 Godstone Road between Kenley (Norfolk Parade, CR8 5AA) and Riddlesdown Common. We call upon the Mayor of London, Transport For London, and Croydon Council to provide a safe crossing solution for our community.”

But what TfL is planning to place on this site, with the backing of O’Connell and London Mayor Boris Johnson, is nothing more than a mid-road pedestrian “refuge” – something which the photograph on the petition page illustrates is far from safe for pedestrians on a stretch of road where motorists are often speeding.

“Bicycling Boris” has become notorious since first elected London Mayor in 2008 of avoiding any action which might deter motorists using their cars, or intended to slow down car traffic – however dangerous, as the Croydon Cycling Campaign’s coverage of the dangerous Mitcham Road has shown.

Austen Cooper, of the Croydon Cycling Campaign, has written to Steve O’Connell, plus Jenny Jones, the Green party AM who is deputy chair of the police and crime committee, and to Andrew Gilligan, the mayor’s recently appointed capital cycling expert, following the fatal crash on Godstone Road in the early hours of Saturday.

In the incident, at around 4am, two pedestrians were hit by a car. One of the victims, a woman in her 40s, was pronounced dead at the scene while the other, was taken to hospital. The car driver was today released on bail.

Cooper is concerned that the TfL proposals for a traffic island on this stretch of road will make it no safer for pedestrians, and is convinced that it would make the road much more dangerous for cyclists.

“My reading of what the Mums’ Campaign want is a proper crossing, not a modified pedestrian refuge,” Cooper said.

TfL is supposed to begin work on the pedestrian refuge imminently. “Rushing through that scheme – TfL have already planned to do what they want regardless of the consultation outcome – won’t do anybody any good,” said Cooper in his letter.

“The death on Saturday of a pedestrian in a car crash on Godstone Road, less than half a mile away from this junction, will hardly reassure local people that TfL and the police are doing anything to make the A22 safer, particularly when speeding has long been known to be rife there, as found by local crossing campaigners and the local police.”

Austen Cooper's picture of Godstone Road, taken on Sunday

Austen Cooper’s picture of Godstone Road, taken on Sunday

Cooper has called for an urgent site visit by O’Connell, Jones and Gilligan – by bike – to see the road for themselves. He believes that cameras would be the best method to keep motorists to less dangerous speeds.

“The attached picture, which I took yesterday afternoon, neatly illustrates cyclists’ concerns. A widened pedestrian refuge diverts traffic into the space a cyclist would normally ride. At best this would be unnerving, at worst, someone could be injured or killed,” he wrote.

“I’d like to see Jenny, Andrew and Steve do as I did yesterday, and cycle along this particular stretch of road. That’s the best way to understand cyclists’ concerns, and to quickly and easily visit the pedestrian crossings that have been installed elsewhere on this red route.”

But despite the apparent dangers, highlighted by Saturday’s fatal crash, and calls to do a site visit, O’Connell remains keen to push ahead with the traffic island. “I’m afraid that personally I do not want the implementation of this scheme delayed, and nor do I believe do the Mum’s Campaign,” was O’Connell’s latest response to the Croydon cyclists.

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4 Responses to Kenley road island could cause more deaths, says campaigner

  1. ndavies144 says:

    Given the long stretches with few frontages and the lack of any signage to the contrary, you can easily be lulled into thinking there’s a 40mph limit along there.

    In Spain and doubtless other countries they have lights on fast roads which turn red if you approach them faster than the speed limit. Should you ignore them you get done for both passing a red light and speeding: double bubble.

    Combined with a crossing this would seem an excellent solution for the situation here.

    • I like this idea; it is practical and consistent with a policy of only stopping people who drive too quickly. It would certainly help pedestrians who cross the road.

      What it does not do though is work out how that space can be shared by cars and cyclists. An issue which Three Wages O’Connell seems not to worry about.

  2. Reblogged this on Sykose and commented:
    @SykOse. Live. Extreme.

  3. May I give a short perspective on this as a resident of Kenley?

    (1) Getting the right solution. As I understand it KNAC and Croydon Cyclists want to make the A22, and that junction in particular, fit for pedestrians, cyclists and cars to use. That means making the right decision not just simply taking a decision because it is expedient in the electoral cycle.

    (2) value for money. Surely getting it right is better value for money than putting something in and then having to replace it/redo it/revisit it because it is not fit for purpose. The recent pedestrian death and near death experiences that cyclists have suffered surely suggests that something more fundamental is needed on this road. To proceed with an ill-throught through scheme is bad value for money, a daft decision and is contrary to the Government’s stated position to use public money wisely.

    (3) the alternative offered by TFL (Roke Road, Northwood Avenue, etc) is not an alternative. I used to travel that route but stopped because it is more dangerous than the A22: cars use it as a rat run; it is poorly lit at night and has parking on both sides of the road, which often leads cyclists beign squeezed into cars.

    As a user of this road – and as a father of a child who crosses it twice a day – I expect our elected representatives to come to the right decisions not just enter into a ticked box exercise because it allows them to show they have “done something” in response to resident concerns.

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