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
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
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
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.
- Austen Cooper is a member of the Croydon Cycling Campaign. He can be followed on Twitter @CroydonCyclists
- £85m TfL road schemes include a flyover to the Croydon Flyover
- No evidence that Boris’s flyover will improve traffic flow
Coming to Croydon
- David Lean Cinema, ’71, Dec 11
- Mayor of Croydon’s charity Christmas dinner, Dec 12
- South Croydon business breakfast, Dec 13
- Concert of Christmas music, St Luke’s, Woodside, Dec 13
- Opera Soiree at Whitgift School, Dec 14
- Friends of the Earth Green Beanfeast, Dec 15 (book by Dec 1)
- Croydon Philharmonic Christmas concert, St Matthew’s, Dec 16
- Spread Eagle’s Christmas Improv show, Dec 17
- David Lean Cinema, Northern Soul, Dec 18
- David Lean Cinema, Hitchcock’s To Catch A Thief, Dec 29
- David Lean Cinema, The Beat Beneath My Feet, Dec 30
- Norwood Society talk: Penge, the making of a suburb, Jan 15
- South Croydon business breakfast, Jan 24
- Norwood Society talk: Crystal Palace and Dulwich, Feb 19
- Norwood Society talk: Charlies Dickens in Norwood, Mar 19
- Norwood Society: Balloons and airships at Crystal Palace, Apr 16
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