Residents on five roads in Croydon are being encouraged to exercise outside after the council closed their streets to prevent rat running through residential areas.
The council announced that Holmesdale Road at the junction with Park Road, Dalmally Road at the junction with Blackhorse Lane, Elmers Road at the junction with Blackhorse Lane, Lancaster Road at the junction with Southern Avenue and Woodvale Avenue at the junction with Avenue Road will be shut to all through traffic for an initial 21 day period in the first phase of the council’s closures, with notices going up last Sunday, to be implemented this week.
Croydon council also announced a second scheme as part of this initiative which will allow residents living on quieter residential streets to apply for a part of their road to be closed for up to two hours day to create a safe space to exercise outdoors. From this week residents will be able to email the council’s highways team to put forward their road to be considered for the Exercise Street pilot. If approved volunteer residents would be responsible for closing their section of the road during the allocated hours.
The new measures from the council are in response to the increase in dangerous driving since the start of lockdown with surveys showing a quarter of people feel the behaviour of drivers has got worse.
Councillor Stuart King, cabinet lead for environment and transport, said: “We are responding to growing concern that since lockdown began vehicle speeds have increased on certain routes around Croydon and these temporary low traffic initiatives will help create safer spaces for residents walking and cycling near their homes.”
In the last week of April the Metropolitan police recorded 2,020 speeders this was up from 268 offenders recorded during the same seven day period last year, with the massive spike coming in spike of the fact that motor vehicle usage has declined by around 60% since lockdown began.
Speaking to the Standard, Detective Superintendent Andy Cox, from Scotland Yard’s traffic teams, said: “Some of the people we’ve stopped have said things like ‘because of Covid-19 we didn’t expect you to be doing enforcement’, but it’s an absolute priority for us. Every one of those extreme speeders is entirely selfish, they’re not considering other road users, the wider impacts, they are frankly disgraceful. We’ve had since the lockdown, nine fatalities, so many people seriously injured.”
A recent poll by the AA, which surveyed over 19,000 drivers found that a quarter of them feel that the behaviour of both car drivers and cyclists have deteriorated since the outbreak began in the UK. President of the AA, Edmund King said: “Less traffic doesn’t mean that drivers should start drag-racing at traffic lights, dangerously overtaking others or ignoring the speed limits. As we approach the summer, it’s likely that more people will be heading to the great outdoors for their daily exercise so we’ve all got to be a bit more considerate.”
The council confirmed the measures will be kept under review for the remainder of the lockdown and depending on how the closures are received during the trial period they may be made permanent once the lockdown ends.