Cruisn’ the Coast is underway on the Coast and with the car show recently being named the top car show in the U.S. by USA Today, even bigger crowds are expected this year.
The event will run from September 30th to October 7th, 2018 and the entire state is expected to benefit from the influx of visitors to the Magnolia state.
“It could be the biggest event ever,” said Visit Mississippi Director Craig Ray. “They have trended toward the most vehicles registered which drives their audience from all 50 state and 2 or 3 countries. It’s exciting what this does for not only the Mississippi Gulf Coast but for the whole state. We have all these vehicles and they drive into the state. We are a drive in state, 90% of our tourists drive into the state from all over, so it really brings in the whole state of Mississippi into this event.”
Ray said approximately 100,000 people are expected at the weeklong car show this year.
However, with the number of people expected, not to mention the classic souped-up cars, parking and traffic will become a hassle. This is something the Biloxi Police are working to ensure remains a steady flow during the event.
As part of the traffic plan, cones will be placed in the center of traffic, from White Avenue to DeBuys Road for eastbound traffic, and from DeBuys Road to I-110 for westbound traffic.
“We don’t want to diminish the great success of Cruisin’ or any event for that matter,” said Biloxi Police Chief John Miller, “But with the growth of the event and a record number of Cruisers expected this year, we have to be vigilant and prepared, and if traffic gridlocks, we have to be able to move emergency vehicles. If that happens, the cones need to be in place, and the left lane would be for emergency vehicles only.”
A copy of the city’s Cruisin’ traffic plan has been included in informational packets that Cruisin’ organizers are giving to all Cruisers. The city’s B-Alert texting service – text BILOXI to 888777 – will post traffic advisories regularly and will give notice if the traffic plan will be implemented. Police used the plan years ago for Spring Break and resurrected it a year ago when that event caused gridlock. Similar traffic plans are in place for Mardi Gras, St. Patrick’s Day and Scrapin’ the Coast.
“In all cases, the cones have to go in place before traffic picks up,” Miller said. “With Scrapin’ we didn’t even have to implement the one lane of traffic, and we think that will be the case with Cruisin’, but our job is to be prepared.”
The biggest issues for police, Miller says, is with unregistered vehicles.
“People come over to view the cars, and they then join the event,” Miller said. “I don’t know why, but we see more traffic violations from people who are actually spectators. It’s usually reckless driving or spinning tires, and, while it may not seem like a big deal, we regularly see people lose control of their vehicles when doing that. The Cruisers, on the other hand, are a fun crowd. They usually have a lot of money invested in their vehicles, and they’re very proud and want people to see them. We have very few problems with them, and we certainly welcome them to our city.”