L.A. seeks to add raised, hardened centerlines at intersections to prevent street takeovers
The LAPD has stated that sideshows are growing increasingly violent; officers who respond often have rocks thrown at them or laser pointers shone in their eyes
By Dakota Smith
Los Angeles Times
LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles City Council has moved to target street takeovers at scores of intersections known to be sites of the illicit activity.
The council voted 12 to 1 on Tuesday to launch a pilot program at 20 intersections, including 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 “doughnuts” and other stunts, officials said. The cost of the program is $80,000.
Street takeovers, also known as sideshows, typically draw large crowds. Cars spin around intersections, burning tires and sending smoke in the air, to the delight of onlookers.
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 flee at excessive speeds, endangering the public, the officials said.
According to police data presented at the hearing, L.A. street racing and takeovers peaked in 2020, with 912 incidents. In 2019, there were 319 incidents, and in 2023, 482, police said.
The Los Angeles Department of Transportation has tested rumble strips and other traffic measures at five city intersections, Laura Rubio-Cornejo, the general manager, said at last month’s hearing.
However, in some cases, the cars just move to the next intersection. Rubio-Cornejo said 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 against the pilot program Tuesday, saying she doesn’t believe it’s 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,” she 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