A recent report has found that Croydon is the only London borough to not have made funding bids for greater cycle infrastructure and bus priority lanes.

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 TfL funding bids on these issues between 2023 and 2025.

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

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

Without central pressure to apply for TfL funding, boroughs like Croydon have been left with some of the least cycle and bus-friendly roads in the capital.

Ria Patel, Green Councillor for the Fairfield ward, told the local democracy reporting service (LDRS): “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.”

In terms of cycling infrastructure, 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 Croydon Cycling Campaign, believes that while this news is disappointing, it comes as no surprise to him and others who regularly ride Croydon’s roads.

He told the LDRS: “The lack of ambition from the mayor and the cabinet is very disappointing.

"It’s all about political will rather than money in the end. 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.

“In terms of return on investment, 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.”

Despite its size, Croydon has not implemented many of the cycle-friendly measures that have been synonymous with London during Sadiq Kahn’s tenure as London mayor.

While famous features like the cycle superhighways and Santander cycle scheme are used heavily in the inner London boroughs, they are yet to be adopted at all in Croydon.

Mr Hewlett believes that while Croydon is falling behind in making its roads safer, it still has great potential to be a cycle-friendly borough.

He told the LDRS: “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 a lot of severance in the town centre, this is partly down the 1960s building style which left us with three motorway sized dual carriageways running north/south through the town centre.

These are the Purley Way, Roman Way, and Wellesley Road.

“It is not as sharp a north-south divide in the borough as people think. Plenty of the South of the borough is still close to the town centre. The ambition should be about getting people to and from the town centre.”

Croydon has experimented with a number of dedicated cycle lanes running in and around the borough, with the intention that they would connect those on the fringes with the metropolitan town centre and its transport hubs.

One of these schemes included an extended cycle path along Brighton Road in South Croydon.

This scheme has been subject to a protracted consultation period, in which the council has measured its viability. 

However, according to Hewlett, the scheme has not met the expectations of the borough’s cyclists who want a quick and reliable way of accessing the town centre by bike.

He told the LDRS: “The Brighton Road scheme has been half-baked and done very cheaply with temporary materials.

"A lot of it remains incomplete, and there’s been a lot of pressure around parking on the road. The whole scheme has been watered down, despite it being Croydon’s main highway in from the South.

“There’s a lot of room for improvement on that scheme. It comes up from Purley, and there are a couple of gaps around when you get to Purley Oaks. Some of the design there is not terribly safe.

“Then the whole thing stops about 300 yards South of the South Croydon station junction. So there’s a gap from there up to the flyover where there’s nothing for cyclists at all. I’ve cycled that section quite a bit and it’s pretty hairy.” 

Other dedicated cycle lanes include the London Road route in the north and Fairfield Hall route, which is one of the few lanes that is separated from the main road.

According to Hewlett, Croydon is also lagging behind in its provision of dockless bikes. 

Currently, there are no dockless bikes in Croydon, but Hewlett believes these offer a quick and cheap win for a borough with a high number of young and lower-income people who may not be able to afford a bike.

Hewlett told the LDRS: “For the Forest and Lime bike model, they don’t need to do much more than sign a contract with the operator. There’s very little capital cost or investment needed from the Council, they just need to say you now have a license to operate. The sooner they can roll these out the better.”

When approached for comment,  a Croydon Council spokesperson said: “We’re currently proposing to bid for over £500,000 of new bus priority measures for our next round of funding from Transport for London.

"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.”