City to close part of 15th Street Southwest this weekend to prevent illegal street racing

File photo

File photo

Street racers don’t burn rubber on the same strip of asphalt every weekend, they move around from place to place, and from city to city, and their followers move with them.

Because street racing is illegal, dangerous, impedes the flow of traffic, and police will shut it down and haul people off to jail if they catch them at it.

And everyone knows it.

In a proactive measure to address safety concerns over increased incidents of illegal street racing in Auburn, the city announced Friday, it would close 15th Street Southwest between West Valley Highway and Outlet Collection Way between 9 p.m. and 5 a.m., Friday, Jan. 15, and running through Sunday, Jan. 17.

“It’s an issue we’ve been encountering over the summer and this last six months … so we’re deciding to make this an emphasis.,” Auburn Police Cmdr. Sam Betz said Friday. “We were going to make it seasonal because the racing usually dies down in the wintertime, but they are not doing that, they are continuing their behavior, and recently they were observed in Auburn. So, we’re just trying to take enforcement action to mitigate risk to the citizens who drive around Auburn.”

More closures may take place in other areas known for illegal racing, and the Auburn Police Department will have additional officers out and about this weekend, focusing on traffic enforcement and traffic violations, Betz said.

And this is not likely to be the only weekend that Auburn Police do this.

“We’re normalizing a plan for the future,” Betz said. “We don’t have anything done yet, but there will be sporadic emphasis weekends if we think that’s necessary for a particular weekend or just to be prudent. This weekend in particular is good for emphasis as we shift from the holiday weekends, where people may feel they have the opportunity to go racing because they fill a need.”

Eliminating the public spaces this dangerous, illegal activity requires, police say, is an effective tool to combat this problem.

“We appreciate your understanding and patience while we work to find ways to address this public safety concern,” the city said in its release.

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