Croydon Liberal Democrats support Croydon Council’s efforts to introduce Low Traffic Neighbourhood in Crystal Palace and Upper Norwood, as part of a number of similar initiatives across the borough. Tackling the climate emergency cannot wait and any attempt to tackle emissions, improve air quality and encourage people to walk or cycle are welcome.
Air pollution – mostly caused by cars – remains one of the biggest causes of preventable illness in the UK, causing at least 40,000 premature deaths a year and costing the NHS £15 billion. Added to this, surface transport is now the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the UK, with almost no progress in reducing them since 1990.
In addition to the environmental benefits, Low Traffic Neighbourhoods can improve quality of life; and residents tell us that the most noticeable difference is to how much better it feels to live in the neighbourhood: to walk to the park and the shops, to talk to neighbours in the street.
Croydon Liberal Democrats support the Auckland Road bus gate and the principle of introducing further measures in the neighbourhood, as the current situation, exacerbated by the Church Road roadworks, is untenable for residents. In recent weeks excess traffic has overwhelmed these small streets, with long queues of traffic on Hamlet Road, parked cars being hit, and those walking, cycling and waiting to catch the 410 bus finding their streets busier and more full of fumes than ever.
However, we would urge Croydon Council to ensure that proper consultation is carried out throughout the trial, both as they move into the second phase and at the end of the trial. The proposed closures on Sylvan Hill, Stambourne Way and Fox Hill appear to have been made without any real appreciation of local traffic movements or the streets in question, and any decisions need to be made in proper consultation with local residents and other stakeholders, such as Bromley Council and the emergency services and businesses on the Triangle.
Local councillor Pat Ryan has already stated that proper consultation with local residents should have taken place before the trial began, to ensure that this had the support of local people but that sadly “there has been no consultation with the local Communities or the Business Community on the Triangle.”
Claire Bonham, Liberal Democrat spokesperson for Croydon North, said:
“The options for how to approach these second phase measures are numerous. As Liberal Democrats we believe that decisions need to be devolved down to the local level and made in partnership with those who will be most affected.
“What is really needed is discussion between traffic engineers and the local community to identify which options are of most interest to the community. In areas where Low Traffic Neighbourhoods have been most successful, this engagement has been essential to anything beyond short-term success”.