For Albuquerque resident Frank Chavez, cruising through town in his maroon 1947 Chevy Sedan Delivery is about more than just a good time.
“Cruising to me is after a hard week’s work, you get in your car that you love and is a part of your family and you’ve put every penny into and you, your wife and kids get in it and go for a ride Downtown, see the lights and you remember your grandparents, your mom, your dad,” Chavez said.
So Chavez was pleased to hear of a resolution signed on Saturday by Mayor Tim Keller that creates a task force that will explore options for “responsible cruising.”
Keller held a news conference at Civic Plaza, arriving in Councilor Klarissa Peña’s 1959 pink Cadillac and signing the resolution on the hood of a red 1957 Chevy Bel Air.
A current ordinance states that cruising can be “a threat to the public health, safety and welfare.”
It sometimes congests traffic, restricts access for emergency vehicles, and causes air and noise pollution, the ordinance states.
The ordinance lays out behaviors considered to be “unlawful cruising,” which could result in a fine or imprisonment.
“I don’t know too many bums or troublemakers who put thousands of dollars into a car to come out into the streets and cause havoc,” said Chavez, who is president of the local chapter of Duke’s Car Club.
Peña, who sponsored the resolution along with Councilor Isaac Benton, said that though 99 percent of the cruising community is respectful and lawful, there will always be those who behave inappropriately or illegally.
She hopes the task force will be able to identify and clarify cruising behaviors that should not be allowed.
However, she takes issue with the negative tone of the current ordinance, which she hopes to repeal and replace using recommendations from the task force.
“This is something special about Albuquerque,” Keller said. “We want to make sure that this is part of our rich, diverse identity.”
The 10-member task force will be made up of three merchant representatives, three car club representatives, and a member each from the Albuquerque Police Department, the Municipal Development Department, the Planning Department and the Council Services Department.
The task force will make recommendations by April 1.
“Lowriding is interwoven into the fabric of Albuquerque,” car enthusiast John Rodriguez said. “It’s about expressing yourself, showing pride in where you come from.”