Transport for London’s revised plans for turning the notorious Fiveways junction on the A23 in Waddon into Fourways have been harshly criticised for ignoring TfL’s own standards for safer roads, the new plans are said to be based on a false premise which contradicts the Mayor of London’s own draft transport strategy, and they have been assessed as making the Purley Way “more dangerous” for cyclists.
Tonight marks the first of six consultation meetings over TfL’s revised plans.
Originally budgeted to cost £85million when floated three years ago, have been much-changed, and show some improvements on the first draft, which threatened to bulldoze the historic Waddon Hotel for the sake of a road-widening scheme.
Those original proposals also presented south London with the nightmarish spectre of the “Boris Flyover”, another mulit-million-pound vanity project typical of the former Tory Mayor’s time in office at City Hall (think Dangleway, the Boris Bus and the Garden Bridge), but from which Croydon, and a large chunk of Duppas Hill Park, appears to have escaped.
Yet even under these revised proposals, some homes and businesses in the vicinity of the A23 junction with the A232 will still need to be CPO’d and demolished, as TfL’s latest effort features a new, wider road bridge over the railway at Waddon Station. This is to be built higher over the rail tracks for the benefit of double-decker trains which may, or may not, be introduced into service some time before 2067.
TfL and Croydon Council have also been accused by environmentalists of spending potentially £100million on a false premise, building a road scheme just to pander to the lobbyists from Westfield over their long-promised supermall in the town centre when all evidence shows that traffic levels even on this busy junction have been falling over the last 15 years.
And even the Mayor of London’s own draft transport policy documents predict a steady decline in the proportion of journeys made by car, down by one-third in the next quarter century.
“The Mayor at City Hall and our council should be taking measures to reduce car use, not encourage it,” one Katharine Street source said.
“What they are proposing here is to spend a great deal of public money to route some of the traffic off the A23 on to residential roads on the Waddon Estate, all for the sake of reducing journey times into the town centre by a minute or two.”
The TfL consultation paper admits what is really driving the proposal is the interests of private property developers when it says, “Our proposals would make Fiveways junction simpler and increase capacity to accommodate expected traffic growth arising from population and economic growth in the area.”
For “economic growth in the area”, read Hammersfield, the £1.4billion shopping centre promised since 2012 by Westfield and Hammerson, and which is planned to include a 3,200-bay car park.
The TfL document also states, that it aims to “provide enhanced cycling facilities to link with existing and proposed cycle routes into and out of Central Croydon”.
But local cycling groups highlight the absence of segregated cycle lanes on parts of the north-south routes on the Purley Way under the latest proposals.
Cyclists who have studied the plans suggest that the designs look to have been drafted by separate teams and lack any proper co-ordination, resulting in some cycle lanes on the busy A23 just “vanishing” when they reach the busy, and potentially dangerous, junctions. What’s been included in TfL’s proposals does not even meet TfL’s own standards for cycling under its “Healthy Streets” initiative.
One senior figure within the London Cycling Campaign who is familiar with Croydon’s diminishing cycle routes told Inside Croydon that the TfL Fiveways proposals are “a poor quality design”.
They said, It does not meet the lofty standards set out by TfL in its London Cycle Design Standards manual nor the ‘best in London’ ambition set out in Croydon Council’s draft Cycling Strategy.
“Instead of making cycling easier for people of all ages and abilities, it is making it more dangerous for the few that already do cycle. It ignores the possibility that people might wish to cycle to the Waddon Leisure Centre and does nothing to help parents to cycle their kids to the new Harris Primary Academy, which opens in September.
“The road scheme – which is what this really is – is intended to enable more private car users to drive to a shopping centre that isn’t being built, in a town centre where the pollution levels are illegal, along roads where motor traffic has declined since 2000.
“It’s a farce.”
The TfL consultation has been patronisingly tagged “Have Your Say”, when the City Hall officials know full well they couldn’t give a toss for what anyone other than Westfield have to say – just as they did with proposals which could bring the Tram network and public transport to a near-standstill in the town centre just to make it easier for car drivers to turn into the shopping centre’s car park.
The first public exhibition is at the Waddon Leisure Centre today, until 8pm, with further sessions at the same venue on July 20 (4pm-8pm), July 29 (11.30am-3pm), August 12 (11.30am-3pm) and September 7 (4pm-8pm), with another session at St George’s on Barrow Road on September 9 (noon-4pm).
The consultation is open for submissions until September 18, and the full documentation can be viewed online at tfl.gov.uk/fiveways-croydon
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