I paid my LTN fine. I won’t be returning to the town centre soon

Signs of the times: the Parsons Mead LTN has adequate signage, according to an adjudicator ruling

CROYDON COMMENTARY: In an open letter to council leader Hamida Ali, Kenley resident RICHARD RUSSELL expresses his dismay with the current state of the borough

I received a penalty charge notice, fined £65 for driving into Parsons Mead low traffic zone.

I was taking my wife’s car to get it MOT’d at Motaplus Garage in Canterbury Road, a garage I have used for this purpose for about 30 years. Having now seen on the internet all the protests about the fines served on countless drivers and that an adjudicator has stated that the signage is adequate, clearly I made a mistake in using Parsons Mead, so I have paid up.

However, it is hard to believe that the council is sincere about the reasons for making Parsons Mead a low traffic zone. I missed all the signage, which seems to be set too high up on the poles for drivers in small cars to see, though no doubt it is compliant.

Gardeners Road (my usual route to the hospital and garage for many years is from Mitcham Road via Albion St) does not seem to have any guide painted on to the road surface saying all traffic must turn right before the junction with Parson Mead. Having made an illegal left turn into Parsons Mead… again the prohibition sign may be legal but it is an unusual style for a prohibition sign.

Whitgift Centre 2019

The Whitgift Centre: no longer on many people’s list of places that they ‘must visit’

Nor is there a warning on Mitcham Road to the effect that Albion Street is for access only. If there was such a sign, I did not see it.

Clearly, the council is only interested in the money, not making sure traffic keeps off Parsons Mead.

One cannot escape the feeling that Parsons Mead is simply a ruse to entrap motorists.

Not long ago I tried to pick up a new lawnmower from Argos in Market Street. The loading zone outside the store was blocked by two vans, so I went to look for a nearby parking place.

Having found a space I had to give it up because the parking meter screen was defective and I could not understand what to do to pay the parking fee. I drove home to Kenley and cancelled the order for the mower.

We used to be regular users of Grants, the Fairfield Halls and the Whitgift Centre.

Now “downtown” Croydon is a no go zone for us, unwelcoming, even hostile.

The saturation of the area with flats is going to overwhelm the local infrastructure anyway, so tinkering with traffic schemes now, even if well-intentioned, will make little difference in the long run.

The roads are too dangerous to ride a bike on, so you are unlikely to turn Croydon into an Amsterdam.

Over the years we have spent a lot of money in Croydon but it is just too easy for drivers to get fined there now. A leisurely day out at the Whitgift Centre with a nice lunch is a distant memory.

But is anyone at the Town Hall bothered?

Read more: Broad Green driver has 12 penalty notices dropped by council
Read more: Taking a U-turn on road measures risks a traffic accident
Read more: Residents take to the streets to protest Parsons Mead LTN

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20 Responses to I paid my LTN fine. I won’t be returning to the town centre soon

  1. Alan says:

    Great to hear, one fewer car means more room for those who really need to use cars. And there’s no need to make Croydon into Amsterdam. It just needs to catch up with other parts of London.

  2. I grew up in Croydon,, proudly watched the construction of the underpass from my school in Wellesley Road, and used to work and shop in Croydon. I no longer live in the town but visit the area several times a year. I do not go to Croydon to shop, though, I prefer Bromley. Croydon Council’s hostility to car drivers combined with the greed of NCP put me off seeing how fast the Whitgift Centre was dying and whether any interesting shops remained. Croydon is a place to go to get depressed, not to shop, and best avoided in a car.

  3. Ian Kierans says:

    I would say that there is a lot of parking available in Central Croydon. There are car parks at Centrale and the Whitgift center along with other car parks close to Dingwall road. There are quite a few on-street parking areas and also areas a short walk from the center. But these all cost money and may not be cheap. The parking meters are discriminatory and many require a mobile to pay and/or a current account. Coin ones are not always working and when broken that is it.

    Still to get to these areas you will run the risk of car damage, abusive road rage behavior, dangerous driving and a multitude of conflicting signage sometimes hidden by large vehicles. None of this is likely to be ever be dealt with by any enforcing authority and you are just a another victim of an administration of no prevention no enforcement cuts..

    You will also be subjected to begging, offered bizzness, drugs of choice, run the gamut of large groups of adults or kids hogging areas of pavement, have the risk of scooter or e-cycle injury and perhaps a long wait at C.U.H A&E only to find there are not many shops worth spending any money in. Yes once again no prevention and no enforcement.

    And then a week later an envelope stating you breached one of the myriad obtuse thoughtless ”rules with cameras” implemented so that a crap road design can be legally workable.

    This is the impact of decisions made with our consent. Welcome to our digital future.

  4. Christian suburbanite says:

    Is Croydon hostile to cars?

    Or are cars hostile to Croydon?

    Answers on a postcard, please.

    • John says:

      Looking at the town centre today it looks like Croydon is losing out as it’s transport planners dont recognise it doesnt have the connections or demographics of a zone 1-3 town centre. Reality bites fast so using a pandemic as cover to pursue NIMBY ambitions will always have consequence. I dont see the strategic plan being pursued – does anyone have a clue what our money is spent on and the bigger picture?

      It’s hard to believe that the majority of our aging population from the south of the Borough are going to ride a bike anywhere to shop. Even a fit 20 something would struggle up those hills without any load!

      So whats the solution? It can only be the bus? The problem is those often get delayed by congestion created by poor highway schemes which are too focussed on solving ‘local issues’. As an example how can we justify the situation outside the town hall which is pushing several thousand people a day to divert through four extra signals, etc and all the emissions/time burden that places? You could understand it if it was solving a known problem or providing the best in class service for cyclists but it’s not helping anyone. Its a case study in how to mismanage vital space in a town centre with form over function, style over substance….

      I wonder where we’ll be in five/ten years time when the majority of cars are electric. Are we going to pay again to rip out all these schemes and restore some connectivity to the network? Perhaps by then the town centre will have regenerated with all the homes being packed in as all those new local people can walk to the shops but in the meantime…

      • Angus Hewlett says:

        As a sometimes cyclist, sometime bus passenger, I’m conflicted about the Town Hall area scheme. Huge improvement on the bike, pretty annoying delay on southbound buses.

        But I rather wonder if it could be fixed as follows.

        Currently the buses run south along Fell Road to the flyover, turn left, head east up to the roundabout, go all the way around, and then west down the ramp on the far side of the flyover to the high street. It’s the roundabout that causes all the delay.

        What if they did this:

        – Reverse the direction of the northernmost slip road ramp (the continuation of Fell Road) so that it runs downhill (West) instead of uphill (East) & make it for buses only.

        – Buses now get direct access from the Town Hall to the High Street.

        – General traffic headed to the A232 from the High Street area would use Park Lane instead of the Fell Road ramp.

        Fewer delays for buses and far less general traffic using the High Street northbound. Win/win?

  5. Adam M says:

    I visited Croydon from Greenwich once in early 2021 and got two tickets for during in and out of Parsons Mead. I vowed never to go back to that town.

  6. matt s says:

    Bikes, Walking even scooters are all part of the future. Croydon has been hostile to any mode of transport other than the car its time to change. We need to stop taking so many unnecessary car journeys, I fully accept some are needed but the amount of single occupy cars that are going a couple of miles is ridiculous. Also the amount of cars parked up over cycle lanes and pavement making it

    MORE CYCLE LANES / PEDESTRIANISATION / PUBLIC TRANSPORT AND DISABILITY ACCESS.

  7. Julian Davies says:

    “The roads are too dangerous to ride a bike on, so you are unlikely to turn Croydon into an Amsterdam.”

    To be fair, the only reason the roads are to dangerous to cycle on is that Mr.Magoo here can see them. Like he couldn’t see road signs. One less blind driver on the road is a win.

  8. Pete Jenkins says:

    When will the diversions/one-way systems implemented for Covid19 be rescinded? The buses take long diversions around the Park Lane roundabout and quite frankly people don’t know where certain buses stop in Park Street and High Street heading south and where the diversion roads lead to.
    High Street and Katharine Street are among those needing to be put right.

  9. I was in Suffolk visiting family last month and came across a 1/4 mile traffic jam in the middle of the countryside – it happens every weekend there – sheer number of cars.

    Croydon is no different.

    Could someone tell me how you do a family shop without a car? Or do you just do it by osmosis?

    • To do a family shop without use of a car, go online, or download an app: there is no end of grocery services available which will happily deliver your weekly/fortnightly/monthly shop to your front door, usually for no charge. It’s hassle-free, very covid-safe and it helps reduce emissions by reducing the number of car journeys.

    • Ian Kierans says:

      Sebastian you need to consider that Suffolk has 63 disused rail stations. It was rumored that there was not much use for them but really the Government no longer wished to subsidise them and preferred to give it to large Train Companies. They also reduced school transport and bus services as they were uneconomical. Most have had to resort to cars to get to work. Suffolk has quite a few park and ride schemes but a lot of traffic at weekends is tourism to coastal areas.
      Broad Green has 1 mile tailbacks every day as traffic is funneled down St James road. London Road and Sumner Road. These are all narrow roads with the London Road as a main artery being the narrowest. Croydon has good transport links bus train and tram. It is very different. Suffolk has had not much investment and made the best of it. Croydon well you have the answer to that!

  10. Haydn White says:

    I will not go to Croydon unless I absolutely have to and thats once in the last five years , Croydon’s sneaky money grabbing road traps have only confirmed my dislike apart from which the place has gone severally down hill and I dont feel safe walking around .

  11. Nigel Keen says:

    After reading about Croydon’s LTN, the Whitgift Cenntre in off my Christmas list

  12. Harry Heron says:

    Croydon town centre is in terminal decline. And I think I know why. Truth is its depressing and attempts to support shops there are futile. I live near Lloyd Park and I shop in West Wickham. A 10 minute drive. Lots of low cost parking and a thriving High Street. Yes I boycott Croydon but not so THEY will listen because THEY won’t…simply to have a pleasurable shopping experience.

  13. Anthony Miller says:

    The Whitgift Centre could be good again. What it needs is someone to promote it, run events in it, make it a happening place. Instead of treating it like a cancer, spending the best part of a decade running it down, threatening its businesses with eviction and promising to flog it wholesale. You’d think someone at the Whitgift Foundation might take responsibility for the doomed scheme and disgusting state of disrepair… The roof has so many leaks one wonders if its going to fall in on someone some day.

    Re driving. I think it’s actually quite hard to get fined in Croydon. Whitgift has 3 car parks and centrale one. The prices vary but are enough to put one off going in for small purchases.

    • Ian Kierans says:

      The number of parking fines and the number of ANPR fines issued suggest quite a lot of people get fined not only as a large number but as a percentage of drivers using the roads. Parking enforcement staff are few, but do work very hard in this borough.
      There are a lot of cars ticketed on my road every day and still those same cars are there the next day. However poor choice of parking is not the issue it is road signage, traffic levels, unconsulted changes to roads and the conflicting markings make the roads here more dangerous with greater risk of either a fine, a crash or both.

    • Nick Davies says:

      The Whitgift Foundation had its own MP at the time. I was going to say you could ask him, but judging by his website domain, he has moved on to pastures new:

      http://gavinbarwell.com/

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