Saturday is World Car-Free Day, though Croydon Council’s efforts to mark the event are hardly fun-filled.
There’s no grand gesture, no scheme to close off the Croydon Flyover, that monument to the primacy of the internal combustion engine.
Somewhat more modestly, the council has designated Croydon High Street as its traffic-free area for the day. The High Street is already closed to traffic.
And in the announcement, which was slipped out from the press office in Fisher’s Folly last night, while advising that they would use the area for a play street for the afternoon, they managed to set a tone for the occasion which could see it being as joy-less as car-less.
“Anyone attending the High Street event is invited to bring games or activities,” the council noted.
“Children should be supervised at all times,” the council warns.
And the killjoys add… “Bikes and scooters should not be taken to the event.”
That’s you told then.
Croydon’s half-hearted effort to abandon the car, even just for one day, appears fairly typical of other schemes across London, where just 50 of the capital’s streets are to be closed to traffic for World Car-Free Day.
The councillor behind the town centre play street is Stuart King, the cabinet member for environment and transport who has, elsewhere, provided more innovation by agreeing car-free zones around some of the borough’s primary schools.
Saturday’s brief play street experiment (it will be held only between 1.30pm and 4.30pm), King says, can be used as an example for neighbours to come together and seek to establish play streets of their own, such as the award-winning efforts of residents in Love Lane.
“Play streets are held across the borough on a regular basis and offer a fantastic way for communities to come together,” King said.
“Staff and members of other schemes across the borough will be on hand so why not come along, enjoy the day and find out more about setting up a play street in your area?”
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