CROYDON COMMENTARY: The plan for a green recovery in the borough announced this week meets with approval from MARCUS CHURCHILL, pictured left, but he says that the proposals are long overdue and need to be implemented urgently
I fully commend these councillors’ vision.
Time is running out.
Croydon Labour’s election plans going back years have promised to make the borough greener with safer cycling and walking. It has simply not materialised on any meaningful level.
The 20mph zones was a good start, but it is not enforced and is therefore ignored by speeding drivers, especially in the north of the borough. This makes roads, even “quiet” backstreets, dangerous. Even noise pollution from fast cars on streets around our local parks ruins those special moments of zen (think Grange Road and Grangewood Park).
And nothing tangible has been done to reduce traffic and car dependency in Croydon – but this is key.
People won’t start cycling for local trips while they continue to face speeding, aggressive motorists. The regular near misses and close-pass punishments by a significant minority of drivers forced me off my bike a few years ago.
I know many who’d like to get fitter on two wheels, to at least have a safe option. But with traffic levels and speed already almost back to pre-lockdown levels, nothing will change until Croydon’s leadership stop window dressing.
There’s clearly a problem at the top as Croydon is way behind the curve on green issues such as safe cycling routes. It takes balls to bring about real change. It means facing up to some angry residents. Remember Norbury Avenue’s safe cycling experiment? Yet more empty promises.
Actions speak louder than words.
And people like me have had enough of words.
Yes, money is tight. Yes, it’s a real challenge. But many improvements – such as making cycle routes non-through roads for cars to stop rat runs – are relatively low cost. Greener thinkers in Croydon have waited long enough. Our support and patience is running out.
Please listen to what these progressive and forward-thinking councillors have to say. They are on the right side of the argument.
- Marcus Churchill is a broadcast journalist and PR professional and sometime cyclist
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