Could Wallington become a cycling destination? Sutton Living Streets supporter John Kinnear considers some options that, if implemented, could help unlock Wallington’s potential as a more attractive place for cycling.

Wallington ought to be a honey pot for local cyclists. Its bustling town centre has the major shopping chains, but on a human scale. There are plenty of smaller shops and varied eating places, plus a regular farmers market, along with a post office and a railway station which is popular all day, not just for commuting. And there are large secondary schools just north and south of the town centre too. The town centre is surrounded, literally encircled, by residential areas made up of quiet roads, all of which easily link together to make pleasant cycle routes, some signed and some not. You can link up to the north with the signed route 75 from Sutton to Croydon through Beddington Park, and to the south an alternative route between the same areas. To the west there is national cycle route 20 which runs north and south. All those residential streets should be full of cyclists riding from home to their local town centre.

However, you don’t see too many cyclists cycling from home to Wallington town centre. It is not surprising why.

National Cycle Network route 20 along Park Lane is a busy, heavily trafficked road, with a nasty piece of cycling infrastructure on the Boundary Road rail bridge which forces a cyclist out into the fast flowing traffic. At the southern end of Boundary Road there is a busy roundabout with unhelpful cycling provision; at the northern end (Park Lane) there are busy road junctions. In Wallington, after the recent refurbishment of the town centre, Woodcote Road has been narrowed through the shops. As a cyclist you would share the one lane in each direction with buses that have stopped to load up in the middle of the traffic flow, other traffic stopping and starting at the traffic lights and trying to overtake the buses in both directions, and cars reversing out of the new parking places, not to mention pedestrians darting over the narrowed road. After the recent refurbishment, there are nice new cycle hoops for more cycle parking, but poorly designed. Each new hoop has a semi-circular metal panel, inside the hoop, with a P sign and a bike silhouette cut out. These bits of metal may look good but make it awkward to lock your bike to the hoop if you try to use the TfL-recommended D-lock. After the refurbishment of the area, there is also a cycle contraflow by Lidl in Beddington Gardens. Nice idea- it could be copied in so many places where there is one-way traffic. But what does it lead you out to in Wallington? Manor Road/ Woodcote Road, full of cars, buses, lorries- often moving off at speed from traffic lights just north of the rail bridge and also just south of the bridge. Crossing over into Ross Parade means a nasty right turn too. No wonder some cyclists going north just cycle along the wide pavement under the railway bridge. Probably illegal but no doubt feels a lot safer.

So Wallington may be surrounded by good cycling areas but the town centre, despite its attractions, is like a fortress designed to keep the cyclists out.

Is there an alternative to gain access to Wallington? One of the roads parallel to Woodcote Road is Shotfield (to the west). It could be an alternative access to the shops on a bike, but it is often full of traffic, usually larger vehicles, buses, coaches etc., and usually moving fast, along with cars eager to get in or out of the car park.

Strangely there is another alternative, which – with one exception – requires only a relatively small amount of attention, to create a cycle superhighway from Beddington Park all the way south almost to Woodcote Green, allowing a cyclist easy and safe access to all the shops and other facilities. It provides a way of opening up the cycling potential of the whole area, because it links with other routes, with residential areas and it provides safe and easy access on a bicycle to the Wallington town centre area.

Map of the Wallington Superhighway

A cycle superhigway for Wallington?

Route description and action needed table

Route description and action needed

1 Beddington Park, from signed route 75 to the car park
To formally allow cycling on the very short distance between route 75 and the road to the car park; perhaps improve the surface.

2 Car park to Croydon Road
Signage needed

3 Crossing Croydon Road
There is already an island refuge for pedestrians. This could be adapted to accommodate cyclists.

4 Bute Road
No action needed apart from signage

5 Right into Belmont Road
No action needed apart from signage (Melbourne Road could be used as an alternative)

6 Left into Bridge Road
No action needed apart from signage

7 Across the railway bridge
No action needed apart from signage

8 Ahead up Clarendon Road
Road markings need to be improved at the southern exit from the railway bridge. The current situation leads a cyclist on this route to believe they have right of way over Ross Parade traffic; motorists approaching from Ross Parade are also led to believe they have right of way over the junction with Clarendon Road. This is an extraordinarily dangerous situation.

9 Towards the south end of Clarendon Road:
existing cycle route is signposted into the shopping centre. (Diversion from the main proposed through route) Dropped edges needed to facilitate cycling into the shopping centre. More bike hoops needed in Woodcote Road making use of the very wide pavement.

10 South end of Clarendon Road:
slope up towards Stafford Road. Need for dropped edges and signage to make this a cyclable route.

11 Crossing Stafford Road.
Although there are traffic lights here, to control cars using the supermarket car park, this is currently a major barrier for cycling. It is not easy to cycle across Stafford Road; it is not easy to walk your bike across Stafford Road either. It is the one point on the route that needs significant attention. This is the only major work needed on this route.

12 The whole length of Onslow gardens to its junction with Shirley Road, where it is possible to join other established cycle routes or simply make use of the quiet back streets to continue a journey to the west, the south or the east.
No action needed apart from signage

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