Street racing is the problem that never seems to end in the city of Dallas.
However, over the weekend, one district that has been deemed a racing hotspot took a stand against the racers with temporary speed cones designed to discourage illegal street racing.
With the help of Dallas police and city departments like Public Works, the cones were laid out on a section of Hampton Road in Oak Cliff to reduce the six-lane road down to four lanes.
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Council Chad West, who oversees this area of district one, said the road is one the worst problem areas for street racers. It’s a long, straight road with few traffic lights in some spots, allowing street racers to speed up to 60 miles per hour or more during gatherings on the weekends. Some vehicles even perform stunts in the intersections.
However, he said the cones helped deter speeders this weekend and brought about some interesting results.
“We had zero calls for street racers over the weekend. It was very pleasant,” West said.
As reported by NBC 5, the previous weekend was a busy one for Dallas police, especially in the Oak Cliff area.
“There was a lot of back up of traffic for the first weekend we tried it. Cars are used to having a free-for-all on Hampton, so they were some backups, there with some complaints but the vast majority of feedback I got was pretty positive. I would say about 80/20, people liked it,” West said.
He clarified the temporary cones were just a trial run to see what the traffic patterns would look like if some more permanent adjustments were made to the road to deter speeders.
“Typically research will show you it takes traffic about 30 days to learn new traffic patterns,” West said, adding that he would've liked to test the cones for that period of time but more planning and input is needed from the community before that happens.
“We wanted to give the neighborhood sort of a little taste of what that might look like. And then shoot for some more resources that we can deploy their long-term," he said.
This temporary traffic calming measure is something the councilman hopes will pave the way for permanent changes to the road sometime in the future, such as lane reductions or other methods.
“This is the first step to trying out solutions that’s going to go on for a while. Use of cones is one thing, to reduce lane-use down. Maybe one of these lanes becomes a bike lane long-term. Or maybe we narrow it down for a while and then we go back to six lanes on certain parts of it," West said.
However, he said there will be no major changes any of the roads without thorough feedback and planning from the community and the city.
"It shouldn’t be up to me or the city of Dallas to decide how we’re going to reduce this, it’s got to be a community driven endeavor," he said. "Because we’re going to have to live with it for a long time if we reduce these lanes."
There’s a task force in district one that has been fighting back against street racing. The next step is to have them look at how this trial run went with the cones and either roll it out again or bring on some other ideas.
"I would like to see it again pretty soon, I think we’re going to take feedback from the task force and see what they come up with. If they like how this is configured, we might try different configuration next time or a try a different lane."
Neighborhoods were made aware of the cones in advance but the measure was not broadcast anywhere else to prevent racers from making other plans.
West says other council districts are learning from each other to see what is and isn't working and these cones are just part of the ongoing fight to bring street racing to an end.
"It's annoying, it disturbs your quality of life. It wakes kids up at night, I know from personal experience. It's a public safety issue and nobody wants them," he said.