This post was first published by My London on 01/06/2019.
‘The 4 simple ways Croydon’s tram network can jazz up the town’
Take some inspiration from European cities by making the trams a hub of activity, says Angie Quinn.
Croydon undoubtedly has a lot going on, with the tram network at the heart of it all.
It’s thriving with high quality street art, brimming with ample places to eat and getting from A to B is made so much easier by the public transport.
But there is room to jazz the town centre up a little and I have the perfect idea – let’s create more positive public spaces for people to relax and socialise using the famous Croydon trams.
Like Croydon, there are lots of cities around Europe who also have a dedicated tram network – but their uses are a little more exciting than ours.
Some countries transform old carriages into cafés or art spaces and they look brilliant.
Croydon could join this latest craze and sprinkle a little extra culture around the place.
This would also offer locals the chance to make use of boring, empty spaces and open small business from unwanted resources for others to enjoy.
Here is how Croydon’s tram network can jazz up the town, inspired by European cities.
1. Recycle trams into something new
Prague heavily relies on the use of trams with both old and new carriages constantly in use to ferry people around the Czech city.
But the disused ones seem to serve a purpose when they are no longer fit for use.
The city has transformed dis-used tram carriages into cafés and they look gorgeous.
Recycling trams is a way to create more pretty public spaces where locals and tourists can sit and sip on a coffee, relax and watch the world go by.
This is a far cry from sitting in the normal coffee shops owed by retails giants in the local Croydon shopping centres.
2. Turn them into art
Over in Lisbon, Portugal trams are generally a small yellow carriage which transport people through the narrow city streets.
But some carriages have been transformed into canvases for art and it adds wonderful colour to the Portuguese city.
Encouraging creatives to express their work in dedicated spaces would boost Croydon’s ever growing urban art collection.
Authorised graffiti on one or two trams may spice the borough up a little, or they could be used as little pockets of art galleries or a community space for locals to take part in art and craft classes.
3. Make them a place to enjoy coffee and cake
In Dublin, an old stationary tram stands in Wolfe Tone Square called ‘The Tram Cafe’, and is a perfect spot for a cup of tea and piece of cake to take a break from gallivanting around the Irish city.
Imagine having one of these in Croydon where after walking around the shops or on your way home from work or college you could stop off in a quirky café, plonk yourself down and chill. It would be wonderful in the summer months, and cosy in the colder ones.
It would be a great hang out spot:”Fancy meeting at the tram for an iced-latte and a bit of carrot cake?”. Always.
4. Trams could be a party destination
We’ve all heard of ‘party buses’ but over in Munich there is a tram service with a huge difference.
This lively journey offers cocktails and themed parties – it’s basically a nightclub that gives part-goers the chance to explore the city at the same time.
Dianne Abbott would for sure be welcome to sip on a Mojito and travel through town on this form of public transport.
Using old trams for cafés and bars in a common theme around Munich and are popular with locals and tourists alike.
Croydon has the potential to follow other cities and recycle old dis-used trams to give the town centre extra public spaces to enjoy either as a café, library, urban art gallery and more.
And why stop at trams? This could also be done with old trains and even buses.