CROYDON COMMENTARY: AUSTEN COOPER, of Croydon Cyclists, responds to our exclusive report last week that a single night’s bike racing in the town centre is receiving £148,000 of public cash
The £50 million spent by Connected Croydon on ripping up not-so-old paving blocks, established trees and shrubs that were about to flower, and simply replacing them with new ones (or in the case of the long dead tree outside Debenhams, a litter bin) represents a colossal waste of public money.
By removing cycle lanes and replacing them with car parking spaces, those behind this scheme have given a two-fingered salute to cycling and to the lofty principles contained in Croydon Council’s own “Public Realm Design Guide”.
The irony is that this sum – £50 million – is exactly the same as that mentioned in the bid by the council to make the borough a “mini-Holland”, under Boris’s scheme to make it easier for anyone and everyone to travel by bike. The Mayor and his Cycling Czar, Andrew Gilligan, rejected Croydon’s effort on grounds which included the fact that our council had a poor record of investment in cycle-friendly infrastructure. The Connected Croydon project continues to follow that ignoble path.
It’s a great shame that the only occasions we see our council enabling mass-cycling in Croydon are when filming is taking place (Made in Dagenham) or a sporting event such as is planned for next week.
Without that, we’ll see more motor traffic clogging our roads and worsening air quality in our already polluted town centre.
The London Cycling Campaign’s Space4Cycling campaign sets out clear methods to improve quality of life for all, by making local streets safe and inviting for everyone to cycle.
Best practice models from abroad, principally the Netherlands and Copenhagen, are now starting to appear elsewhere in London. We now need to see them take root in Croydon, so that cycling is not a fringe method of transport, used by a sporting elite, but a realistic and convenient choice for all.
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