This summer, with the support of Croydon council, we’re running a series of Play Streets events in South Norwood and Upper Norwood.
Please take our survey (once you’ve read the article) and get in touch if you’d like to be involved.
Play Streets allow children of all ages to reclaim their street temporarily from traffic – typically for one Sunday afternoon a month – to have fun, play games & forge friendships on their own or neighbouring streets, just as they did before the late-20th-century menaces of fast traffic and stranger danger scared them indoors in front of the TV.
As a Transition Town we are committed to sustainable, healthy transport choices and people-friendly streets – Play Streets are a way for kids – and the wider community – to experience that for themselves, albeit temporarily.
Our events are modelled on the pioneering “Playing Out” projects that have taken place in Bristol since 2010 & Hackney since 2012. Some links if you’d like to find out more about the background and the people who inspired us:
Residents and their guests will still be able to access the street with cars as needed, but will be asked to do so at a slow pace & to take extra care. We’ll have volunteer marshals at every event to ensure it all goes smoothly and moveable barriers to keep out through-traffic.
We’re currently putting together a rota to provide a packed Summer full of events, but with no one street closed more than one Sunday per month. Kids and families from neighbouring streets – and indeed friends from across town or across the world – are welcome, but individual events will not be advertised or promoted.
Bring bikes, scooters, badminton sets, chalks, skipping ropes, soapbox carts, costumes, cardboard boxes and lots of imagination.
If you’d like your street to be a Play Street in 2014, get in touch now firstname.lastname@example.org
.. and please take our 2-minute survey Play Streets Survey – Crystal Palace Summer 2014! Thanks for reading.
Answers to some common questions
I need to use my car on Sundays and / or people need to visit me. How’s this going to work?
We’ll have marshals at either end of the street with a moveable barrier. Residents & their guests (and deliveries, emergency services etc.) will still be able to get in and out in their vehicles. We ask that they do so slowly & considerately, taking extra care.
Why do you need marshals?
For better or worse, kids playing in the street are a rare sight these days. Other road users simply don’t expect to encounter them. Play Streets events are semi-structured so that nobody is taken by surprise, and so that parents who may be anxious about safety feel confident to allow their kids to join in.
Can anyone attend a play streets event?
Yes. The street remains public space and open to the public, it’s just being used for different activities than usual. There is no system of tickets and the organisers will not be issuing invitations. Events will not be advertised publicly, but residents are welcome, indeed encouraged, to invite friends along to events on their street.
Do I have to stay and keep an eye on my kids?
Yes. The childrens’ parents / carers remain fully responsible for any children in their care, are expected to provide age-appropriate supervision and ensure that their kids respect private property. The marshals are there only to facilitate the smooth running of the event.
Which streets will you be running events in?
Subject to consultation and final approval, we are investigating the following as potentially suitable locations:
- Turkey Oak Close & Homelands Drive
- Stambourne Way & its cul-de-sacs
- Wharncliffe Gardens
- Sylvan Hill and cul-de-sacs (uphill from Auckland Road)
- Fitzroy Gardens & Wakefield Gardens
Each street is to be closed at most once per month, on a Sunday afternoon, from May through til September.
I live in Croydon & I’d like my street to be a Play Street. Can I apply?
Yes, provided that:
- You are prepared to commit a small amount of time to getting the event off the ground – mostly delivering consultation letters, and helping marshal the event itself.
- Your street either does not carry through traffic at all, or carries a relatively low volume and allows motorists a nearby alternative if closed to through traffic.
- Your street does not carry any bus routes. It is not currently possible to divert buses for a Play Streets event.
Application is no guarantee that events will take place. All streets are subject to Council approval and a majority of consultation respondents in favour. Those streets with the greatest number of residents expressing an interest will be given priority.
I don’t live in Croydon borough. Can my street be a Play Street?
We are producing these events in conjunction with the London Borough of Croydon. If you live in Lambeth borough, it’s also possible to organise Play Streets events in conjunction with Lambeth Play. If you do so, let us know – we may be able to help support your event. We are not currently aware of any possibility of organising Play Streets events in Southwark, Lewisham or Bromley boroughs – if you know different, again, let us know. There has been significant expression of interest in Crystal Palace Ward, Bromley, and if the Croydon pilot goes well we will be investigating a Bromley scheme in 2015.
What is Crystal Palace Transition Town?
Crystal Palace Transition Town is a broad environmental group with a wide range of interests and projects relating to sustainability, energy efficiency, liveable streets and strong communities. The group hosts projects ranging from food growing to litter clearance, farmers’ markets to solar energy investments, bike repair DIY workshops to Fair Trade talks. Take a look at our main web site, find a project that takes your fancy and get involved!