Seven more Croydon roads, in Crystal Palace, South Norwood and Thornton Heath, are to undergo pavement widening measures next week as part of the council’s Streetspace scheme that aims to make it easier to walk or cycle during the coronavirus pandemic.
This latest expansion – using covid-19 emergency powers – was announced, somewhat coyly, late on Friday before a bank holiday weekend, not for the first time probably as an attempt to avoid too much attention and public scrutiny.
According to the council, parking bays will be suspended with barriers set up to expand the pavement on Church Road and Westow Hill in Crystal Palace and at Clifford Road in South Norwood on Wednesday, May 27, and at on South Norwood High Street and two stretches of Brigstock Road, Thornton Heath, on Friday, May 29.
The initial public reaction to the announcement about the changes in the Crystal Palace Triangle has been overwhelmingly favourable, with a suggestion, too, that a 20mph speed limit is also being considered for these usually busy streets.
Ward councillor Stephen Mann (pictured below) said on social media, “Hopefully some good news that from Wednesday and Thursday next week social distancing measures will be introduced on Church Road and Westow Hill to narrow the road to allow more space for pedestrians along very narrow sections of the Triangle.
“This is a little later than elsewhere but we have been working with businesses to ensure that the measures are able to work for them… These measures are flexible so if they aren’t working or other areas need restrictions introducing, officers will look into them. If you do have any questions or suggestions please do drop councillors an email.”
The changes in South Norwood may be cause for close examination: road closures in the area introduced at the start of the lockdown have seen long tailbacks of traffic at the junction with South Norwood Hill.
Indeed, the council is extending those road closures: “Next week’s expansion will also see the partial closure of Holmesdale Road in South Norwood as part of the low-traffic street scheme, extended on Friday, May 29 to include the area east of the roundabout at the junction with Oliver Grove.
“The closures preserve access for residents and other essential journeys while offering cyclists and pedestrians, who are able to pass the barrier, a safer route that avoids the busier Selhurst Road.”
The council added, “The works to Clifford Road and Brigstock Road will make social distancing easier for commuters needing to use Norwood Junction and Thornton Heath train stations. Measures for other transport hubs are set to be introduced over the coming weeks.”
Elsewhere in the borough, but unannounced by the council, double yellow lines appeared along a stretch of the busy Southbridge Road in Fairfield ward.
The road serves as the main north-south route from Roman Way to South Croydon and Purley. A council proposal to make all of Southbridge Road subject to double yellows had previously been roundly rejected by residents at the northern end of the road. The coronavirus emergency has been used to over-rule such objections, the road painting taking place last week without the niceties of a consultation or any notice. There has been no objections raised on social media by the ward’s councillors on behalf of their residents.
The council states that speed awareness signs are being installed on other roads where speeding has been reported. “The council is also considering temporarily reducing the speed limit on some of the busiest roads as it works to make every journey in Croydon safer.”
The council statement adds: “All the changes are temporary, lasting an initial 21 days, but can be renewed or made permanent if they prove popular.”
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