DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Gabriel and Loretta Gonzales say for years street racing has occurred in their Oak Cliff neighborhood.
“You hear it through the night,” Gabriel said. “From the house you just hear cars zoom, zoom, zoom. Now, after the pandemic I think it’s gotten worse.”
“In this area there’s a lot of kids and families out here,” Loretta said.
They said it happens a lot on Hampton Road, which is a wide, straight street. They also say for years it’s occurred on West 12th Street, where the posted speed limit is 30 mph.
“Number one call in my district is speed racing and it has been before COVID and it actually got worse,” District 1 City Council Member Chad West said.
He said right now a task force is working on long term solutions. Temporary speed cones have been placed on Hampton to take it from three to two lanes of traffic in each direction. They’re currently asking residents what they think.
“It’s somewhere between 75 to 85% positive because people were so sick of those speed racers and about 25% negative because it’s slowing down normal drivers,” West said. “At the end of the day, I’m going to listen to my task force and what the community wants.”
On West 12th, between Hampton and Edgefield Avenue, the road has been permanently reduced from two lanes of traffic in each direction to one. However, even with the changes, residents still want to see more done.
“What I would like to see is for them to have speed bumps on this side of 12th street which is south of Hampton,” Emilio Urbina said.
The father of three said even on his small residential street there’s speeding.
Gabriel Gonzales said he thinks more police enforcement is needed.
“You can’t stop them when you don’t see them,” he said.
“One of the challenges is that Dallas has a no chase policy,” West said. “Our officers, unless the speed racer has committed a felony or has a felony warrant or a misdemeanor that involves violence, they can’t chase them. Where as every city around us has chase policies. They can chase speed racers.”
West said he’s spoken to officers about this.
“The officers I’ve talked to have all wanted to at least have the discussion about is this policy a good one or not,” he said. “I’ve asked our chair of public safety to bring it back up and talk about it at council.”
West said on any given weekend there can be 1,500 racers and only 500 to 600 officers.
“We can’t police our way out of this,” he said. “We’ve got to think of alternatives.”
The Dallas Police Department has a task force dedicated to street racing. In Dallas, public street racing is a crime punishable by citation and/or arrest.
A city ordinance passed earlier this year makes spectating street racing illegal. Police are asking the public to report it by calling 911 or using the iWatchDallas app if they see it.