L.A. City Council seeks to rein in street takeovers

The Los Angeles City Council moved Tuesday to target street takeovers at scores of city intersections known for the illicit activity.

The council voted 12 to 1 to launch a pilot program at 20 intersections, including at Grand Avenue and 4th Street in downtown L.A. and Glenoaks Boulevard and Polk Street in Sylmar. Raised, hardened center lines will be installed at the intersections to deter motorists from doing donuts and other stunts, officials said. The program cost is $80,000.

Street takeovers, or sideshows as they are known, typically draw large crowds. Cars spin around intersections, burning tires and sending smoke in the air to the delight of onlookers.

The Times has reported on the shootings and deadly crashes that occur at street takeovers.

At a City Council committee hearing last month, police officials said the takeovers are increasingly violent. Responding officers are met in some cases with rocks and laser pointers, officials said.

It’s extremely dangerous for police to try to stop a street takeover, in part because the cars will flee the area at excessive speeds, endangering the public, the officials said.

According to police data presented at the hearing, street racing and takeovers peaked in L.A. in 2020, with 912 incidents. In 2019, there were 319 incidents and in 2023, there were 482 incidents, police said.

The Los Angeles Department of Transportation has already tested putting rumble strips and other traffic measures at five city intersections, said Laura Rubio Cornejo, general manager of the Los Angeles Department of Transportation at last month’s hearing.

However, in some cases, the cars just move to the next intersection. Cornejo also said that there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to curbing the problem of street takeovers.

Councilmember Eunisses Hernandez, who represents neighborhoods on the city’s Eastside, was the lone vote Tuesday against the pilot program.

Hernandez said she voted against the motion because she doesn’t believe it offers the right solution. “I want to see us investing in proactive safe street infrastructure that improves safety for our communities and reduces instances of street violence, not just investing in models that respond after harm occurs,” Hernandez said.

Councilmembers Kevin de León and Imelda Padilla were absent from Tuesday’s vote.

The intersections targeted for the raised, hardened center lines include:

—Grand Avenue & 4th Street
—Grand Avenue & 2nd Street
—Grand Avenue & 3rd Street
—N. Meyers Street & Kearney Street
—Figueroa Avenue & 2nd Street

—Crenshaw Boulevard & Florence Avenue
—Manchester Boulevard & San Pedro Street
—Hoover Avenue & Century Boulevard
—Western Avenue & Century Boulevard
—Normandie Avenue & Gage Avenue

—Balboa Boulevard & Foothill Boulevard
—Bledsoe Street & Bradley Avenue
—Balboa Boulevard & San Fernando Mission Boulevard
—Glenoaks Boulevard & Polk Street
—Yamell Street & Foothill Boulevard

—Lincoln Boulevard & Manchester Avenue
—Western Avenue & Washington Boulevard
—Mulholland Drive & Corda Drive
—Fairfax Avenue & Pico Boulevard
—Pacific Coast Highway & Temescal Canyon

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