Cycle Lanes of Croydon

As I recently blogged, Croydon – A cycling borough, Croydon will be receiving extra funding from the mayor to improve cycling in the borough. I’ve heard that this funding may well be coming to the council over a 3 year period which is going to equate to roughly £150,000 to spend per year on cycling.

The aim of the money is to make Croydon (and other boroughs that receive money) a cycling town. A place where people start to cycle instead of using other forms of transport but to achieve this Croydon Council will need to spend the money wisely on facilities and projects that will be beneficial to cycling and not harm it.

Over the next few months I will be making video logs of current cycle facilities that Croydon has and any new work which takes place. It seems from experience that any new facilities put in are done so in small segments, and are of no benefit to cyclists.

For example:

Said videos will be included in a youtube playlist found here.

Edit: Small spelling mistake 🙂

Croydon – A cycling Borough

The Mayor, Boris Johnson, announced yesterday that £4,000,000 would be spread across the 13 cycling boroughs of London that he had named in 2010.

Those boroughs are Barking & Dagenham, 
Bexley, 
Havering:, 
Redbridge, 
Brent, Ealing, 
Haringey, 
Hillingdon, Hounslow, Bromley, Croydon, 
Kingston and 
Merton.

Croydon will be receiving the largest amount of money, £450,500 which should go towards making Croydon a better place to be a cyclist. Be that adding more cycle facilities, adding more parking or offering cycle training.

And Croydon certainly does need that! At present cycling isn’t great in Croydon, despite being the London borough with the highest population of people and the 5th largest borough the cycling facilities are poor and parking is hard to find outside of the town centre.

When you do find a cycling facility it will be the usual crap, substandard, not maintained, not cleaned and often putting you in danger. Many cyclists have stated the danger of the cycle lane that travels along Croydon Road (A236), for miles cyclists are encouraged to cycle in the door zone and I see many unaware cyclists falling into just that potentially life costing trap!

Croydon has had 5 cycling facilities in the well-known cycling facility of the month which is run by Warrington cycle campaign. Each is a great example of the fine work and thought that is given to cyclists in Croydon. Don’t think we are any different to anywhere else, this happens all over the country!

Will nearly £500,000 improve cycling in Croydon? I shall certainly be on the look out for new and updated cycling facilities but i doubt that what we get will be any better than what we already have!

Croydon will certainly be a tough place to improve. Cars are relied on heavily by anyone that doesn’t live near a shopping centre, supermarket or local shops. Places like the Purley Way which contain a vast array of shops is very impracticable to travel to and from by bicycle. Bulk purchases are made in these shops and bringing them back on a bicycle would be a challenge.

Croydon isn’t exactly known for its road planning anyway. Look at Valley Park as an example. It contains a vast amount of shops including the only Ikea in South London, cinema, dining and a large B&Q. Yet there is only one way in and out!?
Which stupid designer thought of that idea?
It’s almost impossible to get out of there on a busy afternoon as everyone has had the same idea and gone shopping!

Croydon will never become a cycling town if the council doesn’t start looking after cyclists. Adding new facilities and parking is great! But if they are not maintained then  how can we use them safely?

Another example from Croydon Road (A236) is a small section just after Mitchem common and before the petrol station. A small section of cycle lane is in very poor quality, it is always filled with water, stones and glass. And just yesterday I had to move a tyre out of it.

I can only hope that we won’t be sold the same fairytale that TFL is doing with the Barclays Cycle Superhighways!

Expansion to Croydon Tramlink Could Break the Town Centre

Tramlink stop at East Croydon railway station ...
Image via Wikipedia

The tram system in Croydon has been a fantastic addition to the town and an easy way to get around if you live near one of the tram lines. But in recent years it has been running at max capacity and was clearly visible when Tramlink decided to change the route that the trams took a few years ago to try to increase performance.

Croydon Council will soon decide if is to use some funding from Transport for London to add an addition 10 trams to the system in the hope to decrease crowding and waiting times.

This will clearly be a fantastic addition to the tram system if it is something you use, but what effect will it have on other transport across Croydon?

Outside the town centre the effect will be minimal. The tram system was built on disused railway routes and on the sides of roads, which means that there is a higher chance that you will have to stop at traffic lights whilst the a tram crosses. This increase is minimal and not a problem if you ask me.

The problem I see, and it’s a problem currently. Is in the town centre where the trams use the road way to and come to a junction with other roads. At present the tram always gets priority and the lights change in their favour on the next light change.

This currently affects all road junctions where by the trams are on the road, but mostly it is an issue by East Croydon station, West Croydon Station and the junction over the underpass. What this can mean is that you are waiting at a red traffic light for up to 5 minutes before you can continue. This does cause massive traffic jams at peak times for apparently no reason.

For example (see picture below) we have the junction of West Croydon Station. The 3 routes into this junction are Station Road, N end (from the north) and the trams/busses come out of Tamworth Road. Station road has lots of traffic coming through it, and is always busy. N End road is also busy but the traffic is often less as you can only go down Tamworth Road. And Tamworth Road should only have taxi’s, busses, cyclists and trams coming out of it. The usual traffic light rotation is Station Road, then N End then Tamworth Road.

But if a Tram approaches along Tamworth Road when the lights at Station Road are green, then the next light phase will be Tamworth Road. Once the lights at Tamworth Road have changed to green, it goes back to Station Road, and the road users waiting at N End have to wait for another rotation before they get a green light.

That is just one example of how the trams get priority at junctions around the town centre of Croydon. There at least 5 other examples of where this happens around central Croydon. And with the increase in Trams traveling on this route, it is only going to get worse.

There is an easy fix, and that’s change how the light phasing works when a tram comes, fine if it gets priority to keep the system running, but at least put the light rotation back into place rather than re-setting it.

As it is, cycling in Croydon is a pain due to the tram lines that have been put in. Most of the crossing are not at a right angle, and trying to cross them at a right angle will only cause conflict with motor vehicles. The addition of these extra trams and the dodgy light phasing will only cause all other road users pain. Especially a problem for cyclists in the colder months due to loss of body heat.