Council provides a cycle hub after removing the spokes

Only in Croydon.

A hub, without spokes: the yet-to-open Croydon Cycle Hub

A hub, but without spokes: Croydon Cycle Hub

The grand opening of a cycle hub and hire scheme at East Croydon last week had to be postponed… because of a collision on George Street between a bus and a pedestrian, which saw the road closed for several hours.

No date has yet been announced for the re-arranged ceremony, though the postponement could be seen as emblematic of Croydon Council providing a town centre “hub” for cyclists without the “spokes” of dedicated and safe cycle routes to or from it.

In Croydon in recent years, the trend has been to spend millions of pounds on road schemes which have removed or reduced bike lanes, which have made cycling in the borough less inviting, and possibly less safe.

Croydon’s contradictions on cycling are numerous and confounding.

We currently have the situation of two-way cycling being arranged to and through North End by one part of the council, while another department in Fisher’s Folly is trying to make cycling along North End illegal.

Meanwhile, cycle lanes along South End, on a main north-south route through the borough, have been removed tp make way for… car parking spaces. This project was conducted under a scheme called “Connected Croydon”. We kid you not.

An experiment with a cycle Quietway along Norbury Avenue in Thornton Heath, which was supposed to run for the summer months before being properly assessed, has been adjusted within weeks of it being implemented, under pressure from car users and residents, some of whom complained of a lack of notice and flawed consultation. On a scheme from Croydon Council? Shurely shome mishtake.

Croydon Transition Town, a group which has environmental awareness at its core, including the desire to see a reduction in motor traffic through more people walking and using bicycles, have said of the cycle hub that it is a good move but, “scant regard has been paid to cyclists for decades. Croydon’s roads need to be made safer for cyclists and to separate cyclists from cars and pedestrians where possible”.

Senior figures among cycling campaigners also highlight the half-hearted efforts from the previous Tory administration when it came to tapping into London-wide funding for cycling. “The terrible shame is that the £50-million mini-Holland bid fell at the first hurdle,” they told Inside Croydon, “yet the council has spent that sum in making cycling harder in places like South End and no easier elsewhere in the town, for example the repaving of George Street without ‘space for cycling’. 

“What a waste, as Ian Dury put it.” 

Croydon's Brompton dock: cheap public transport, and environmentally friendly

Croydon’s Brompton dock: cheap public transport, and environmentally friendly

So central Croydon will soon have a cycle hub, positioned just across from borough’s hipster heartbeat, Boxpark, but without any segregated cycle routes leading to it or from it.

The hub has an accompanying Brompton hire dock, largely because the Boris Bike scheme operated by London’s Zone 1 Tory Mayor has never been extended to the capital’s outer reaches.

The hub is positioned across George Street from East Croydon Station, because that’s the nearest piece of council-owned land available.

Clearly, the various developers building alongside the station could not be persuaded to do the community responsible thing and provide a modest slice of their land. We ought not be surprised after the shambles of the £24 million Bridge to Nowhere, which lacks the originally intended exit on to the Cherry Orchard Road side of the railway lines, where Menta is developing its “executive apartments”.

The hub will be handy for Croydon College students, though, and provides free covered cycle parking for 80 bikes, similar to that provided at rail terminuses in central London. The Brompton hire dock will house eight folding bikes for hire. There will also be a cycle work station for carrying out small repairs and a cycle pump.

The hub has been jointly funded by the council and Transport for London.

The Brompton Bike Hire dock requires a simple registration at bromptonbikehire.com, before being able to reserve bikes via both web and SMS. The dock is part of a nationwide network, with plans for  10 more docking stations in central London over the next 12 months. There is no limit on hire duration, which charges £2.50 per 24-hour hire.

One of Croydon Labour’s newest councillors, Robert Canning, the deputy cabinet member for transport and environment, was certainly making the right noises, if suffering slightly from the “vision thing”.

“As a key part of our transport vision, the council is passionate about encouraging more people to cycle,” he said before the postponed launch. “Providing facilities such as this fantastic new cycle hub and hire station will help achieve this.”

A few more safer cycle routes might just help in that regard, too.

 

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About insidecroydon

News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email inside.croydon@btinternet.com
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9 Responses to Council provides a cycle hub after removing the spokes

  1. farmersboy says:

    I cycle along South End every day and it’s an accident waiting to happen, if it hasn’t already.

    And because it’s normally congested most people cycle on the empty pavement, so it’s not just cyclists at risk – one day there will be a pedestrian.

    Perhaps the council could do a study to see how much the new pavement costs per pedestrian?

  2. farmersboy says:

    You mentioned hipsters, perhaps it’s an ironic cycle hub?
    At little more cost to council tax payers they could rebrand South End ‘the Pavement to the Restaurant Quarter Quarter ‘

    • farmersboy says:

      I didn’t realise until today that we had an historic quarter so, at little cost to council tax payers, I’d like to rebrand my rebranding as ‘the Pavement from the Historic Quarter to the Restaurant Quarter Quarter ‘. Might need a bigger sign though…

  3. KristianCyc says:

    The disappointment with the cycling hub can only be truly understood if you read what a cycle hub was supposed to be, from Croydon’s 2010 biking borough report:

    TfL’s Cycling Revolution: London report identifies a cycle hub as “where potential for a shift to cycling is greatest and resources can be targeted”. The report goes on to explain that hubs will create “beacons of cycling excellence” and “act as catalysts for change in these areas”.

    …and with regards to the cycle hub at east croydon specifically:

    Facilities currently under consideration are:
    A purpose built bicycle parking facility
    A bicycle repair facility
    A new pedestrian and cycle bridge improving east-west connectivity across the station
    Improved connectivity between the station and wider area

    Suggested measures to be considered at the station are:
    24hr secure and staffed high density cycle parking provision with a strategy for expansion to
    meet increased demand in future years. It is suggested that an initial facility should cater for
    2.5% of all journeys to the station being by bicycle (equivalent to around 1,250 spaces) with the
    aspiration of 5% of journeys being by bicycle (2,500 spaces)
    Direct platform access for cyclists so to reduce congestion in ticket halls and foyers.
    Maintenance, retail, shower and changing facilities for cyclists
    A bicycle hire facility

    Further suggested measures around the station are:
    Legible, step free, direct, safe and comfortable routes to the station facilities from the
    surrounding areas making best use of existing and proposed cycle networks

  4. Peter Rogers says:

    That all sounds lovely Kristian but expensive, it’s all about branding if you get a big sign with Croydon Cycle Hub tada you’ve got a cycle hub.
    Not sure that location is exactly secure away from prying eyes. I think bike thefts will go through the roof and people will just avoid it.

    • Gaz says:

      You’re right. Interestingly Croydon Council received £450,000 from the Mayor back in 2015 for cycling improvements in the borough. It was said then that the majority of it would be spent on the Cycle Hub.

  5. Jonathan Law says:

    The thing that puts many would be cyclists off cycling in our town is the number of motorists preoccupied with their mobile phones whilst supposedly in charge of a motor car. I see shocking lack of control because of mobile phone use. The look of horror when the motorist realises that they have to change gear, indicate and turn the wheel to make a turn whilst maintaining a grip on a phone…never mind the poor cyclist (or pedestrian) they failed to see and hit as they made the manoeuvre.

    I don’t agree with cyclists taking to the pavements, and certainly not jumping red lights or failing to observe the highway code, but the mobile thing has got to be changed or policed.

  6. farmersboy says:

    I only cycle on the Pavement in South End, it’s my one man protest although if it’s a protest I guess I ought to tell someone

  7. I’ve given all hope for Croydon council in the short-term.

    The Council seem beholden to the large property developers who want to allow their very rich clients to drive up in their Mercs, Audi 7s, etc, right to their door – even though they are living near the busiest rail interchange between zones 2 and 6. And,let us not even talk about Hammerfield.

    I am afraid it may take a couple of people killed outside Boxpark to get things to change again.

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