From rumbling cars to rumble strips, how LA plans to curb street racing

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LA City Council passed a motion aimed at curbing illegal street racing this week.

Introduced by City Council member Monica Rodriguez, the motion instructs several city departments and task forces — including the Department of Transportation, the Bureau of Street Services, and the Los Angeles Police Department Street Racing Task Force — to recommend traffic calming measures in places with frequent illegal street racing.

That could include street humps, rumble strips, raised center medians, curb extensions, and traffic circles. Rodriguez says preventative infrastructure measures like these will be more effective than enforcement efforts. 

“The LAPD cannot be at every intersection interrupting these activities,” she says. “A lot of them are organized via social media, and a lot of them are happening underground. And so by the time we are able to deploy resources out there, they’re already long gone.”

Street racing has been on the rise during the pandemic. It typically takes place late at night on wide streets, from South LA to the San Fernando Valley, amassing attention on social media and often sending throngs of people to the scene.

“It’s a hard thing to chase,” Rodriguez says. “In my district in Sylmar ... we’ve tragically had repeated events, one which did result in a fatal shooting as well as one car crashing. [It] careened into one of the local restaurants at the intersection of Glenoaks and Polk.” 

She says street racing has taken over so many residential neighborhoods and intersections, and caused lots of public safety hazards.

“And we saw in Burbank, how innocent bystanders, folks that just happened to be driving where the street racing occurred — there were 3 fatalities.”