Croydon is failing its cyclists and pedestrians, report suggests

By Harrison Galliven, Local Democracy Reporter

Croydon is the only London borough to not have made funding bids for greater cycle infrastructure and bus priority lanes, a report has revealed.

Campaigners say this demonstrates a ‘lack of ambition’ shown by Croydon council when it comes to bike and bus-friendly measures.

One X user, Adam Farrell, summed up the sentiment when describing the report as ‘grim reading’ for Croydon residents and cyclists alike.

The report, published by the Green Party’s London Assembly member Sian Berry, highlighted the borough’s lack of funding bids made to Transport for London (TfL) on these issues between 2023 and 2025.

Ms Berry’s report also highlighted how London Mayor Sadiq Kahn failed to use the powers available to him to get councils to act in line with his Net Zero plan.

Ms Berry suggested this lack of enforcement has led to disparity across London, with some boroughs being more cycle and bus-friendly than others.

Ria Patel, Green councillor for the Fairfield ward, said: “This is a clear example of where Croydon council, a council with serious financial difficulties, could be making better use of external funding that’s available.

“And the Mayor of London could also be doing more to encourage boroughs to apply. There is a lack of ambition from both the Conservatives locally and Labour at London level.”

Croydon has built some low-cost infrastructure across the borough and has said it will continue this trend with its £18.5 of leveling-up funding. However, the borough still lacks a strong network of cycle-safe roads and bike parking.

Angus Hewlett, from the Croydon Cycling Campaign, said: “The lack of ambition from the mayor and the cabinet is very disappointing. None of this stuff is all that expensive to do. It will be a capital investment rather than an operational cost, so it doesn’t harm the books on the operational front.

“If you’re getting people more active you’ll save the NHS a lot of money in the long run. However, If you look at the Net Zero plan, none of what Croydon is doing is in line with the Mayor’s ambition there.”

Mr Hewlett added: “As far as outer London boroughs go we have got one of the youngest and most densely populated populations, which means there’s a big potential for people to shift their habits.

“So far, the council has put some good low-cost measures in places like Bedford Park, Dingwall Road, and North End, but what they need now is the heavy-duty capital to fix it. It’s not just about cycling it’s about the public realm, and making these areas places people want to spend their time and money.

“We’ve got three motorway sized dual carriageways running north/south through the town centre. These are the Purley Way, Roman Way, and Wellesley Road. The ambition should be about getting people to and from the town centre.”

Croydon has experimented with a number of dedicated cycle lanes. One of these schemes included an extended cycle path along Brighton Road in South Croydon.  But, Mr Hewlett described the scheme as ‘half-baked and done very cheaply with temporary materials.’

According to Mr Hewlett, Croydon is also lagging behind in its provision of dockless bikes. Currently, there are none in Croydon. “For the Forest and Lime bike model, they don’t need to do much more than sign a contract with the operator, ” he said. “The sooner they can roll these out the better.”

Croydon council said: “We’re currently proposing to bid for more than £500,000 of new bus priority measures for our next round of funding from TfL.

“We have delivered several improvements as part of our transport planning in recent years and have recently received a provisional award for the largest Levelling Up Fund contribution in London, which will go toward building sustainable transport schemes and improving public spaces.

“We have several trial schemes in place, and we are looking at other ways to support active travel, and are focused on ensuring we get those right, and making sure they are achieving their goals.

(Picture: Sarah Gayton)

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