Police are using emergency powers to close a road off the Purley Way tonight to stop the weekly Croydon Cruise.
Action has been taken in the past to restrict the informal event on Imperial Way, but this is thought to be the first active police intervention for four years, and follows two recent high-speed accidents, including one in which someone involved remains in hospital in a coma.
The Croydon Cruise tends not to involve classic cars, but souped-up GTis, some motorbikes and quad bikes, and attracts hundreds of spectators to what has developed into a highly organised event.
At its peak there could be anything between 150 to 200 vehicles, with between 400 to 450 people. The Cruise tends to happen on Friday nights, though there are also sometimes gatherings on Saturdays, especially during the light summer nights.
Cruise drivers tend to gather in the car parks of the larger shops and cinemas along the Purley Way during the early evening. By 9pm most drivers have made their way to Imperial Way, the stretch of road from the A23 that wends through the Croydon Airport industrial estate.
At first, the drivers do just “cruise”, to show off their vehicles. But some look upon Imperial Way as an urban drag strip, with cars racing along the stretch of road, reaching speeds of 70mph or more.
The Cruise was banned by police in 2012, but the road closures use up a lot of police time and are difficult to enforce permanently.A meeting was held yesterday between the police and Croydon Council to look at how they might make the stretch of road safer, including installing speed humps, chicanes and other permanent “traffic calming” measures. With so many businesses based along Imperial Way because it can accommodate large delivery lorries, any alterations have to be carefully balanced.
And any such changes to the road lay-out could take months to gain formal approval through the council.
The numbers attending the Croydon Cruise swell during the summer months, and according to an email sent to a local business, tonight the council is “to use an emergency power to close the road”. Formal notices were placed along the road earlier today. The police are not expected to prevent anyone using the road on regular business.
“In effect, this means that the police will set up a road block and restrict vehicles using the road… The police say that they have spoken to all of the businesses who want to see action taken in the last few days so the council believes businesses will be supportive of the approach,” the email states.
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