Croydon Council wants to install speed humps on the borough’s roads for the first time in 10 years – but it took the death of a young father to persuade them to take any action.
The “Croydon Cruise” has become an unofficial fixture of Friday nights on roads off the Purley Way, as dozens of drivers and bike riders show off their loud and proud vehicles or perform stunts on little-used stretches of the public highway. But using Imperial Way, on the Croydon Airport industrial estate, as a drag strip has seen mounting concerns and frequent accidents, the worst of which happened last month, when motorbike rider Carl Simpson was killed after a collision.
As Inside Croydon reported in June, the Cruise got out of hand as far as the local police are concerned long ago, but they lack the budgets, the available officers, or possibly the will to deter high-speed racing or stunt riding on the public roads.
The option of taking out a court order – effectively a version of reading the Riot Act to those assembled for a Cruise – was among those considered in meetings with local businesses. But now the council has announced that, rather than using wide awake policemen to patrol the Cruise, they will install “sleeping policemen” along a stretch of Imperial Way.
The council’s consultation, announced this week, runs only until August 31, as the local authorities are keen to get something in place quickly, to avoid any further casualties along the stretch of road.
The MP for the area, Tory Chris Philp, has been silent on this matter.
Waddon’s ward councillors have been involved in meetings with concerned traders and Waddon Estate residents for the past few months.
Today, Councillor Andrew Pelling said, “It’s good that our council is taking decisive action to try to make local roads safer for all road users. Speed humps are never going to be popular with drivers, but they need to be considered as a useful traffic-calming device. The businesses on Imperial Way and residents living nearby raised their concerns as the Cruise has grown in size, and in danger.
“If the speed humps go ahead, we will need to work with the police and the local community to monitor their effectiveness.”
Traffic accidents on Croydon’s very busy roads, often with tragic human casualties, are a daily occurrence. In the last 24 hours alone, there have been incidents in Addiscombe, at Fiveways Junction and on the Croydon Flyover. But away from major trunk roads – which are the responsibility of Transport for London – the council has a responsibility for ensuring that our roads are safe and are used safely.
In 2006, under the previous Conservative-run council, with Councillor Phil “Two Permits” Thomas keen to appease his chums in the car driving lobby, it was announced that no further speed humps or raised tables would be added to the borough’s roads. Then, they used as an excuse: “the police, fire brigade, ambulance service and London Transport have objected to the proliferation of road humps and raised tables because of the increase in attendance times for emergency calls and discomfort and possible injury to their passengers”.
The council also said, “Road humps and raised tables can also lead to complaints from local residents about increased noise and vibration from traffic.” Increased noise and vibration from speeding traffic did not seem to occur to the Tories.
Businesses around Imperial Way – there are no residential addresses in the immediate area on the western side of Purley Way – have received letters this week outlining the council and police plan. “The road humps will help to prevent anti-social behaviour and the public highway will be restored to full use for the public, especially the more vulnerable road users ie. pedestrians and cyclists,” the letter states.
The scheme could be in place by the end of October if no material objections are received.
“We don’t want another tragic death in Imperial Way like Mr Simpson’s, and we’re proposing these traffic-calming measures both to make the industrial estate safer for local businesses and their customers and to discourage these gatherings that put everyone’s safety at risk,” said Stuart King, the Labour council’s cabinet member responsible.
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