Road schemes are out-dated and a threat to people’s health

Any road widening of the A232 into central Croydon is likely to include tarmac-ing over parts of Duppas Hill Park

Any road widening of the A232 from a Waddon flyover and into the Hammersfield shopping mall in central Croydon is likely to include tarmac-ing over parts of Duppas Hill Park, right

CROYDON COMMENTARY: AUSTEN COOPER provides evidence to show that Transport for London’s £100 million-worth of public money on road schemes will probably make traffic congestion and pollution in the town centre worse

Some people think that the Waddon flyover scheme – as was first reported by Inside Croydonis designed to cut congestion. It is not.

The plan is to increase the amount of cars and trucks driving into central Croydon, where the nitrogen dioxide air pollution levels already exceed EU safety limits, and have done for many years.

Nitrogen dioxide is known to cause in humans inflammation of the airways, reduce lung function and exacerbate asthma. A report earlier this week from MPs sitting on the Environmental Audit Committee said that air pollution is a “public health crisis” causing nearly as many deaths as smoking. The MPs said that new schools, care homes and hospitals should be built far away from major roads because of the dangers of air pollution.

In Croydon, Westfield, Transport for London and the council are about bring more pollution to the schools and care homes: Parish Church Infants and Juniors, Aerodrome Primary and St Andrew’s secondary are already all within sniffing distance of fumes that are no good for children.

And the pollution hastens the death of older people too – Ellis David Alms Houses is right by one of the existing Croydon Flyover’s slip roads.

Getting back to the myth of congestion in the area, figures from the Department for Transport’s website show the “annual average daily flow” for Croydon Road – the number of vehicles that will drive on that stretch of road on an average day of the year – are below what they were in 2000.

Year      Number of Motor Vehicles
2000      27472
2001      30342
2002      30367
2003      29915
2004      31593
2005      31358
2006      22466
2007      28563
2008      28284
2009      27963
2010      32013
2011       27124
2012      26706
2013      26957

The same is true of Duppas Hill Road, the road that the flyover would connect with, and likely to gouge out a huge chunk of the park in the process, and taking down all the trees along its northern edge:

Year      Number of Motor Vehicles
2000      30046
2001      30085
2002      30091
2003      33909
2004      34187
2005      33890
2006      34431
2007      32704
2008      31965
2009      31547
2010      27505
2011       27443
2012      27047
2013      27313

Similar results can be found for other roads in the borough – see here . Those for Wellesley Road show an even greater marked decline.

Taxpayers like me and you are being forced to shell out to fund this monumental lunacy, a scheme that last saw the light of day in the mid-1990s and is based on the 1960s notion that bigger roads and more traffic equals prosperity.

Cities in the United States are demolishing their freeways; Milwaukee pulled down its Park East Freeway, San Francisco did the same with the Embarcadero Freeway, and when New York’s West Side Highway collapsed, they didn’t bother trying to rebuild it.

We need our politicians to have the courage to tell Westfield and TfL that their plans are not on. And we need local people – particularly in Waddon – to make them listen, as they did almost two decades ago.

Sense with roads? That’ll be the day.

Coming to Croydon

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3 Responses to Road schemes are out-dated and a threat to people’s health

  1. Einstein defined insanity as doing the same thing over again and expecting different results {The Ed writes: actually, there’s a suggestion that it was Benjamin Franklin who first said some form of those words. The point is, you don’t have to be an Einstein to work it out…]

    The people planning the centre of Croydon fit clearly into this definition.

    Look around you, folks: Centrale didn’t work, Allders has died, St Georges Arcade quickly became defunct, and the Whitgift Centre has ever more closed and vacant shops. Fewer people come into Croydon by car because it is such a hellish place to drive. The solution? Build an even bigger centre, just as shopping habits are changing, encourage more cars to come into the centre, wreck a valuable piece of local green land, build more flats (although most of the new-build flats and conversions are empty), and build more offices, although there are many in the queue for conversion to flats and plenty to rent… None of it makes any sense at all.

    Jobs in production, not service or sales, is the way to regeneration, not just replicating the abysmal failed past. Ah, woe is me!

  2. We could reduce air pollution at a stroke by banning diesel emissions throughout Greater London.
    Can you imagine the wailing and gnashing of teeth that would provoke?
    Bus companies and cabbies would need to replace most or all of their fleets. As would van man of every size and hue. And many private motorists who have been sold the idea of ‘clean’ diesel would need to scrap their existing cars.
    Politics is the art of the possible and separating London drivers from their vehicles is impossible, no matter how desireable.
    That being so we will go on accommodating motor vehicles, no matter how dangerous that may be.

  3. Rod Davies says:

    From my experience of driving in the area, the problem is not the flow of traffic along the A232, but from Hooley to Central London along the A23. The issues of delay on the A232 are due almost exclusively to the lack of capacity on the A23.

    I’d like to propose something radical to resolve the problem.

    A flyover extending the M23 all the way to Streatham; running above the A23 until it reaches somewhere between John Lewis and IKEA; dropping then to plough straight through the adjacent boroughs until it can’t go any further.

    This would significantly ease the burden of traffic on the A23 and speed the cross London traffic, enabling the people of Chelsea and Knightsbridge to sail over the top of Croydon in their dash for the coast. They were never coming shopping here anyway. By removing the southbound traffic, travelling from Sutton, Bromley, Reigate etc to Croydon would become easier and it might attract shoppers back to the 99p shops.

    I know everyone will think it’s a mad idea, but long ago people thought anyone believing the world is vaguely round was mad!

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