Disconnected Croydon, the borough that runs consultations without trying too hard to tell its residents, is soon to develop a reputation for abandoning trials midway through, before they have run their course.
The bollards in the centre of the road that blocked off traffic on Norbury Avenue have been removed, opening up the residential road as a rat run for motorists once again. What was supposed to be a three-month trial has been interrupted at the halfway point.
As a Quietways route, Norbury Avenue is an essntial link in a chain of safe bike and walk routes that connect Croydon town centre to a cycle route that should run all the way to Waterloo.
The removal of the bollards, coming a week before the schools return from their summer holidays, means that the “trial”, which was supposedly being run by our council in conjunction with the Mayor of London’s office, Transport for London and Sustrans, will not collect any useful data or reactions during a period when the route – between Norbury and Thornton Heath – is at its busiest.
As Inside Croydon reported when Norbury Avenue was first closed off to motor traffic, there were various issues with the preparatory consultation, with residents in neighbouring roads claiming to have no foreknowledge of the scheme.
The headmistress of one of the schools in a road off Norbury Avenue has been implacable in her opposition. But some of the online complaints about the Quietways trial have been found to be from bogus identities linked to the notorious Peter Morgan, the Coulsdon-based car lobbyist, passing himself off as a Thornton Heath resident.
The premature abandonment of the trial means, of course, that those opposed to the closure will now not have any evidence to support their contentions about its impact on local travel patterns from the first few weeks of the school term.
But then, this is Croydon, the borough which spends tens of thousands of pounds on creating a “cycle hub” after spending millions over the previous four years in removing or reducing the cycle routes that lead to it. It’s not known as Disconnected Croydon for nothing.
The abandonment of the Norbury Avenue Quietway would seriously jeopardise any coherent plans to connect cycle routes through Croydon to other parts of south London. Local cycling groups have launched an online petition addressed to Croydon Council leader Tony Newman to try to salvage the trial.
“It looks like Croydon’s cycle network may have fallen at the first hurdle and will be severed from the rest of the London cycle network,” they say.
“The road is now re-open to fast rat-running traffic, making it unsafe for cycling and walking. For years it has been a rat-run for cars driving between Norbury and Thornton Heath,” the campaigners say.
“Many local residents agree that there is a big problem with traffic cutting through this neighbourhood, dividing it with a consistent flow of vehicles and creating fear of high speeds and lack of respect from drivers.“
- Inside Croydon Events: for dates and links to what’s happening in and around Croydon, updated daily, click here
Inside Croydon: Named among best regional media campaigns, 2014.
- Croydon’s only independent news source, based in the heart of the borough: 729,297 page views in 2014.
- If you have a news story about life in or around Croydon, a residents’ or business association or local event, please email us with full details at email@example.com