CROYDON COMMENTARY: This week, in an answer at Mayor’s Question Time, Boris Johnson gave the firmest indication yet that Transport for London has abandoned plans for a £85 million flyover on the A232 across Waddon Station.
But as TfL delays making its announcement, LEWIS WHITE raises more questions about the suggestion that the City Hall planners want to turn the notorious Fiveways junction on the Purley Way into Fourways
I would really like to see these proposals.
The closure of Denning Avenue, even one-way, would force traffic coming from South Croydon and Waddon off Denning Avenue into long detours through the other streets of the Waddon estate. This would expose more residents to more traffic and pollution.
A real problem is that at present, there is no feeder road from Waddon’s Cooper Road or Hillside Road on to the flyover allowing a driver to exit and turn left on to Duppas Hill Road. The only remaining exit for westbound traffic from Waddon would be via Coldharbour Road, Foss Road or Waddon Way — only the last being suitable. Forcing traffic into small, speed bump-infested residential roads is unfair on residents and also drivers.
Looking at the A23 for the stretch of about one mile north from Fiveways, it is a traffic and environmental disaster area.
Before Transport for London do anything to the roads, I would like to see an up-front commitment from Croydon Council to combine the long-disused playing fields of the old Heath Clark school into Duppas Hill recreation ground to become a bigger public park. This much bigger space could then afford to lose a little on its western side, to make Duppas Hill (the road) from the nasty road it is currently to perhaps make it into a true avenue with, two carriageways lined with trees and separated by a belt of trees.
This would keep the existing park boundary trees, whereas a widened Duppas Hill Road, as TfL were proposing, would be a tarmac desert. The new road could be sunk into the park by two to three metres, and a second tree belt planted, so that park users would hardly see the moving traffic.
Road projects if accompanied by generous landscaping can actually be better than the chaotic and ugly that we have at present.
All over London, there are many suburban roads where houses were proudly built along the main roads in the days when these roads were used by dozens, not tens of thousands, of cars a day. What was a nice place to live in the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s have, over time, become transformed for the worse. They are now sad, polluted places.
It is not wrong to look at redevelopment of such places if what replaces it is far better environment, visually and pollution-wise. Hence, in the right circumstances, I think we should not be scared to look at alternatives, and, in specific instances, demolition sometimes is right to allow the best solution to take place.
If we are not given sight of the options, or enough time to consider them and look at the pros and cons, the democratic process will be ill-served. To rush a bad solution through, when a little more time would have allowed a far better design to be proposed and examined, would be a tragedy.
We only get one chance in a lifetime to get urban designs right. So I would call on Councillor Kathy Bee to be open and bring about a true weighing-up of the many options to improve the Fiveways and A23 area.
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