Transport for London today confirmed that they have abandoned the £85 million Boris Flyover scheme they proposed for the A232 Croydon Road where it meets the Purley Way. Instead, they want to widen a road bridge over the railway line at Waddon Station, turn Epsom Road into a two-way route, and transform the notorious traffic jam that is Fiveways junction into Fourways.
The announcement today follows a consultation held by TfL a year ago, in which the City Hall planners suggested that they could reduce road congestion by… errr… building more roads.
Inside Croydon was first to report the proposal for a flyover to the Croydon Flyover in 2014, and the revised scheme for Fiveways, taking Denning Avenue – the route to and from the Waddon estate – away from the traffic choke point.
Today’s decision is a small victory for the councillors for Waddon ward, who campaigned against building a flyover to take Croydon-bound traffic from the A232 over the railway station to Duppas Hill Road, which would have seen a large chunk of the local park sacrificed to the car.
In their announcement, TfL make much of how 80 per cent of respondents to their consultation felt that a solution was needed to resolve the regular traffic jams at Fiveways. The only surprise is that the figure of those making such an observation was not nearer 100 per cent.
Observing that “something needs to be done” and offering the best solution for a problem, though, are not one and the same. The trouble with TfL’s pig-in-a-poke consultation was that they offered only two, road-building options as a means of reducing congestion on the ever-busy Purley Way, without any suggestions to reduce traffic through improved public transport links or park-and-ride schemes for those motorists determined to sample the retail delights of Croydon’s Hammersfield supermall.
The Denning Avenue changes, though, are very much an after-thought and have arisen from last year’s public consultation as a result of the demand for re-modelling of Fiveways. That such an option was never put forward by the planners as part of their original consultation perhaps shows how limited TfL’s thinking had been when approaching the area.
In the TfL report, issued today, the City Hall planners state: “The existing Fiveways Corner junction layout contributes to long wait times for all road users. The new design would change the road layout by removing Denning Avenue from Fiveways Corner, reducing the number of arms on the junction from five to four.
“Instead, Denning Avenue would join the A23 directly opposite the retail park… All turning movements in and out of Denning Avenue would be allowed. This would decrease the traffic signal phases required at Fiveways and the wait times for traffic on the A23 and Stafford Road.”
They also add, portentously for those living nearby, “The new road layout would require some land acquisition.” That’s Compulsory Purchase Order territory.
“We intend to make the full design available as part of the consultation planned for autumn 2016,” they add.
And this is not a freebie for Croydon: local Council Tax-payers will be picking up part of the bill, along with TfL and something called the Mayor’s £4 billion road modernisation fund. This, we are told, is to provide “radical ideas and innovative designs…” that “… will make London’s roads greener, safer and more attractive for the benefit of all Londoners”.
TfL is seriously selling the chosen scheme as providing “a safer and more direct route for road users through the area, and help to reduce delays and congestion… and improved bus journey times, delivering a better service to passengers”.
The real reason is undisguised: it is to simply to speed the “Surrey wallet share” towards the Westfield and Hammerson shopping centre, as described by Steve O’Connell, the Tory Assembly Member for Croydon and Sutton who, it is worth noting, made no contribution to this important City Hall consultation. Nor was there any participation from Chris Philp, the Tory MP for the area.
“The selected design to be progressed further ahead of a consultation this autumn would see roads widened and a new junction layout with signal controls to separate cyclists from motorised traffic,” TfL said today. The proposal will now be developed in more detail for further consultation planned for the autumn.
Locals will be waiting anxiously to see whether, in widening Epsom Road, the historic Waddon Hotel pub will come under threat of demolition.
“We want to transform Fiveways into a more efficient junction and improve the look and feel of the area to accommodate growth in population and the local economy,” was the carefully worded views of Alan Bristow, TfL’s director of road space management.
“The feedback from our initial consultation has helped to ensure we are balancing the needs of everyone,” he said, without anyone noticing whether he had his fingers crossed behind his back.
“I’m pleased TfL has agreed with this council’s recommendation to widen the junction because we felt the flyover option would have had too great an impact on the local area,” said Croydon Council’s cabinet member for transport, Kathy Bee, who initially seemed to support the ludicrous Boris Flyover plan.
Joy Prince, one of the Waddon councillors who fought against the flyover proposal, tonight told Inside Croydon: “We’re very pleased that Transport for London has listened to us and dropped the proposals for a flyover at Waddon Station, which threatened Duppas Hill Park. The option to widen the bridge and Epsom Road outside the station is a much better solution and we now hope that it can be done without affecting the Waddon Hotel.
“We’re also glad that TfL has recognised the need to improve Fiveways junction to make it easier and safer for all road users.”
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