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City Council backs move to repeal cruising law


FOR THE RECORD: This story has been updated to reflect the correct vote on repealing the ordinance.

Albuquerque city councilors on Monday voted 8-0 to repeal a 2005 cruising ordinance, but that doesn’t mean the city will allow cruisers to drive on city streets however and wherever they want.

Councilors repealed the ordinance after members of a Cruising Task Force, created by city councilors last year, found that prohibitions in a 1994 ordinance against irresponsible driving behaviors were duplicated in the 2005 Cruising on Public Streets Ordinance.

The 1994 ordinance already contains prohibitions against irresponsible behaviors such as drag racing; excessively loud electronic sound or music; modification of exhaust systems; stopping, standing or parking near hazardous or congested places; and occupying roadways, certain medians and roadside areas.

“It not only affects the cruising community, but also the businesses Downtown and the things that are going on,” said cruising enthusiast Lorenzo Otero. “It’s a God-given right – it’s a freedom. Cruising has been not only a part of my life growing up, but also the kids that are growing up. They’re riding their bikes. They’re doing things together. It’s a sense of community.”

Councilor Pat Davis was excused from the vote.

In a separate action, councilors unanimously accepted a plan that would set up a recognition program for such car enthusiasts.

Also recommended by members of the Cruising Task Force, the approved measure calls for the city’s Cultural Services Department to develop a voluntary special interest vehicle club recognition program that officials hope will encourage drivers to partner with private business owners and parking lot owners to coordinate cruising events that don’t obstruct public rights of way.

The city will also provide club members an opportunity to provide input on the design of a recognition placard that will be displayed on club members’ vehicles.

Both items were sponsored by Councilor Klarissa Peña.