A shopping center parking lot that became a draw for illegal street stunts stayed quiet over the weekend after Dallas police parked a marked RV and two officers as a deterrent.
Dave Kirk, the owner of the White Rock Alehouse & Brewery, said the illegal street stunt drivers and crowds began to meet in the parking lot at Gaston Avenue and Garland Road in early August.
“They show up in a hurry, spinning donuts around the street lights, smacking into a car or two,” Kirk said.
Other neighbors reported recently calling the police and waiting as long as 45 minutes for a squad car to scare off the crowd -- only to have them return again the next night.
“As soon as they catch word that somebody is on their way, they scatter, they’re gone,” Kirk said.
Scattering crowds create another danger as cars speed away to avoid law enforcement -- explained Dallas City Council member Paula Blackmon. Her district includes the parking lot at Gaston Avenue and Garland Road.
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“The best thing to do is to prevent it from happening at all,” Blackmon said. “That way, we don’t have to worry about the after-effects.”
Blackmon said neighbors in Lakewood pressed the city for solutions.
At first, police parked a marked RV in the lot, but it didn’t deter the street racers. Police followed up with an RV and two officers in two squad cars. Over the weekend, the Dallas Police Northeast Patrol Division reported no illegal street racers showed up.
Blackmon said it’s a short-term solution and said property owners are looking into adding speed humps as a longer-term deterrent.
Blackmon said large, open parking lots may need to consider building medians or other barriers to segment the property and discourage illegal street racing and street stunt shows.
“Let’s have a discussion about this because it’s happening across so many parking lots and so many neighborhoods,” Blackmon said.
Blackmon said the effort in Lakewood may serve as a template for other private properties that become draws for illegal racing.
Kirk said the street racers are likely just moving the problem to another neighborhood.
“They found this is a good spot for a while, but they’ll be up at some other intersection doing it if they get shut down here,” Kirk said. “I think it’ll continue to go on. It’s going to be a challenge for police to get rid of it for good.”
Earlier this year, the city council passed an ordinance to set tougher punishments for street racers and spectators.
Police coordinated special enforcement campaigns and the city also blocked streets and some lanes in downtown “hot spots” in an effort to curb illegal racing.