ANDREW DICKINSON got on his bike when he saw the latest example of ill-considered spending of public money on the streets of South Croydon
Don’t get me wrong. As a cyclist, I want to see more cycle lanes and secure bike parking and that whole Amsterdam-ish cycling vibe in Croydon.
Hell, I’ve even designed a Croydon bike that uses all the letters in the word “Croydon” in the shape of the design. I just need someone to build it and potentially kick-start a small manufacturing industry in town.
I even look forward to the day when Croydon hosts an annual international cycling grand prix with the peloton bombing down Wellesley Road as the parcours takes them on a circuit around town.
What has annoyed me is the appearance of the new bike parks that have been positioned near the Swan and Sugarloaf in South End. Not the fact that they are there, but these light and dark blue car-shaped bike parks, by design, are completely out of context. They look like they have fallen off the back of a van on the way to the local children’s playground, such is the kindergarten appearance of them.
It feels to me as if someone has said these bike parks look cheap and childish, but let’s see if we’ll get away with such a design and colour scheme in Croydon. The joke is on us! Why could they not be a simple, classic, stainless steel? Even the car shape would look better in a neutral material.
The car shape is meant to represent that one car space is the equivalent of 10 bike spaces. With Boris Bikes yet to reach Croydon, then in the long term, these bike racks show that they are potential sites for the hire scheme.
It seems the colour scheme is the one adopted by “Connected Croydon”, the council-run project that is spending the Mayor of London and Transport for London’s regeneration cash. The same colour scheme features on the “We are improving South End” leaflet that is doing the rounds. By extension, then, would that mean that if their chosen colour scheme was a fetching lime green and lurid pink, the bike parks would also be in those colours?
In the same leaflet, some of the artist’s impressions show the regular stainless steel bike parking stands and then bespoke cycle stands which look like apples and pears. Mmmm… a food theme in a restaurant district. Who would have thought it?
Another concern is that these bike racks are painted. As more cyclists are encouraged and the usage of these racks increases, they will scratch and chip, and will look scruffy and need painting again. So we have been saddled with the maintenance of them.
The good news is that they are only bolted down and not sunk into the new paving, so removing them and replacing with a more tasteful design, more in keeping with a restaurant district, should be straightforward.
I hope that in the cool light of a Croydon morning, the Connected Croydon team see that a better design could have been chosen and are brave enough to change them.
Coming to Croydon
- Crystal Palace Overground Festival, June 26-29
- David Lean Cinema: The Lunchbox, June 26
- Warnings to the Curious, Spread Eagle Theatre, June 27
- Metamono Secrets of Nature, Upper Norwood, June 27
- St Peter’s Village Fayre, South Croydon, June 28
- South Norwood Allotments open day, June 28
- Croydon Careers Fair, North End, June 30
- Fragile, Spread Eagle Theatre, July 24-26
- Coast to Capital business briefing, July 4
- Basically Johnny Moped at Stanley Tech, July 8
- CODA’s Midsummer Night’s Dream at Wandle Park, Jul 30-Aug 2
- Elm Tree Cottage garden open day, Aug 10
- Norwood Society Talk: War Memorials, Sep 18
- Norwood Society Talk: From Fire Station to Theatre, Oct 16
- Norwood Society Talk: Lambeth’s Archives, Nov 20
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