Croydon’s Urban Motorways

As someone who has lived in or around Croydon all my life, I’ve never really noticed it before. That is until it was drawn to my attention by this post.

The post on As Easy As Riding A Bike is looking at a well-known cycling facility on Wellesly road. One that was in fact so bad on the first attempt, it was partially removed and modified. The post mentions how Wellesly road looks very similar to that of a motorway, several lanes of fast-moving traffic, no places for pedestrians to cross and some busses and trams thrown in for good measure. Standing back a little and it clearly divides the town centre in two. On one side you have central Croydon’s shopping plazas and entertainment areas and on the other you have a mass of office buildings, the busy east Croydon train station, Croydon Collage and the Fairfield Halls.

This isn’t the only road in Croydon that has similarities with a motorway. There are several flyovers and multilane roads that were designed in the 1950’s to help motor traffic move quickly from one area to the next. We have Roman Way, Croydon Flyover and The Purley Way for example. None of these roads have speed limits greater than 40mph and like all other speed limits, they are rarely obeyed by motorised traffic.

Roads like Wellesly Road and Purley Way are the kind which today should be very much avoided. They provide a fast and easy route though a busy area, taking away crossings for  pedestrians and providing traffic with the fastest route from A to B. The direct traffic flow with little traffic lights and long sight lines means vehicles travel much faster than they should and provide a dangerous situation for anybody who choose to travel by bicycle.

The centre of the town is pretty much surrounded by these kind of roads and it makes crossing the town by bicycle a difficult and sometimes unpleasant experience. If you have knowledge of the town there are various rat runs you can take to avoid said roads, but they usually involve crossing tram lines at tight angles or cycling through infrastructure which is not maintained.

TFL’s plans for Blackfriars bridge can be compared to these roads, hostile places for everyone that isn’t surrounded by metal, not pleasant to look at or use and certainly not inviting for clean modes of transportation.

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One thought on “Croydon’s Urban Motorways

  1. I went past that lovely contra-flow facility yesterday morning and guess what? Car parked pretty much in front of the small traffic island on the left 🙂 Seems the double yellow lines PLUS the piece in the highway code about NOT parking in cycle lanes was somewhat lost on that driver….

    Whilst not Croydon-centric this morning on the news there was a piece on the Old Street “Silicone” roundabout and my heart sank as I saw the aerial shot – a 4 lane r/b slap-bang in the middle(ish) of town! Why on earth do we need this!!! Mark over at ibikelondon did a similar piece on the Tour Du Danger with aerial shots of some of the junctions. They are HUGE and have no place in a busy metropolitan city, but also make you wonder just what the planners are looking at when they say they can’t fit in proper cycle facilities as there is clearly PLENTY of room.

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