ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – At an Albuquerque City Council meeting last week, councilor Klarissa Pena raised an issue she’d recently seen.
That issue is Albuquerque Police blocking off Central Avenue in Downtown on a Sunday night. What she saw was part of a new crackdown in the heart of the city.
“We’ve received numerous complaints from the business owners and the residents of that area, complaining about the cruisers, specifically drinking in the parking lots,” said Lt. Scott LaFayette.
Three cell phone videos provided to KRQE News 13 shows what he’s talking about. In one of them, you can see a group of people hanging around by a classic car in a parking lot. The person who provided it claims those young men were drinking there and had refused to leave when asked.
Another video shows a trio of riders weaving across both sides of 2nd Street before making slow loops in the middle of the intersection with Central.
A third video shows a loud problem several neighbors have been complaining to KRQE News 13 about, cars doing tire burnouts late into the night.
The Sunday road closure, which LaFayette says started in late April, is meant to help quiet down the area for neighbors. It’s in addition to Friday and Saturday evening closures on the same stretch of Central.
This isn’t a new problem for the city to tackle. City council banned cruising between 1st and 8th Streets and Copper and Silver Avenues in 2006. That ban does not appear to have been strictly enforced in recent years and an APD spokesperson was unclear if it’s even still in effect.
APD’s latest solution had Pena worried that officers were lumping all cruisers together unfairly.
“You know cruising is a tradition of ours it’s part of our culture and you know we keep pushing cruisers from one area of town to another,” Pena said. “I’m sure there’s a few bad apples but for the most part I think people are trying to enjoy a beautiful Sunday afternoon.”
“The people that are causing problems aren’t the traditional cruisers but more I guess hot rod type people,” said city councilor Isaac Benton in a phone interview. “In fairness to police it’s hard to sort out the wheat from the chaff in that kind of a situation.”
The Alvarado Task Force is set to hold a meeting Tuesday morning to discuss the problem. It’s scheduled for 8:30 a.m. in the City Council committee room on the 9th floor of City Hall.