Officials looking to curb cruising on Whittier Boulevard once more
BRITTNY MEJIA, 08/08/2019
View on Los Angeles Times



The history of cruising dates back decades. In September 1979, barricades went up on Whittier Boulevard in East L.A. along the mile stretch between Atlantic Boulevard and Eastern Avenue. That stretch gained national attention thanks to the movie “Boulevard Nights.”

Authorities at the time called the boulevard a “war zone,” because of gang-related violence that had erupted around cruising, according to a 1979 Times article. Every Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 9:30 p.m. to 5 a.m., all vehicles were barred along that stretch. It is unclear how long it lasted.

In a 1986 Times article, authorities said almost every stretch of the 14-mile boulevard, from the Orange County line to East Los Angeles, has had a cruising problem at some point. Conflict between cruisers and police has continued over the years.

Now, as then, cruisers have no plans to go quietly.

“We’re still planning on doing cruises. Before we just do it and piss them off, I’m trying to do some type of dialogue with them,” Garcia said. “At the end of the day, nothing is going to stop us. We’re still going to go cruising. We’re just going to be shifting from place to place to place, and I think that’s more dangerous.”


Lowriders and other cars have turned out in force this summer for cruising events on Whittier Boulevard in East L.A., a reminder of decades past when drivers would congregate to show off their wheels and parade down the boulevard.

But history appears to be repeating itself — with officials looking once again to enforce cruise control.

Last month, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors passed a motion, introduced by Supervisor Hilda Solis, to look into enforcement for non-permitted cruising events. Solis said upward of 2,000 cars have turned out for cruising events, disrupting bus service and shutting down Whittier Boulevard and surrounding streets, despite a 1997 ordinance that prohibits such events. “I understand that there are people who like to do that, I get it. But there are venues to do that where it’s safe and people don’t get hurt and everything can be monitored,” Solis said. “I’m responsible for the safety of the residents, and I don’t see that happening when 2,000 cars converge.” Violations at these events have included driving under the influence, parking in bus lanes and disabled parking stalls and blocking business driveways, according to Solis. The events have also displaced officers from their normal patrols, she said.

The county counsel, Department of Public Works, Sheriff’s Department and California Highway Patrol were asked to report back with plans to deal with the events, including amendments to the county code to assist with enforcement efforts. The 1997 ordinance defines cruising as “the driving of a motor vehicle two or more times within a six-hour period, in a particular direction, past a traffic control point so established on a portion of any street identified as subject to cruising controls by signs posted at the beginning and end of the controlled roadway.” “This has been on the books for some time,” Solis said. “All I’m saying is now that businesses and residents are complaining, I have to look into it. I’m not just reacting to something that came out of nowhere.” Eli Garcia, one of the organizers of the cruising events, denied that thousands of cars have turned out. Garcia said these events have been ongoing since 2015, with enforcement action beginning only in the last two months.

At the last event, on June 24, the CHP and Sheriff’s Department were waiting and pulling over cars, Garcia said. Authorities said cars would be impounded if they were caught driving once more past the same point, he said. Organizers have tried to pick up trash after events and have reached out to business owners to try to address complaints, Garcia said. When advertising events, organizers have called for no burnouts or drinking, he added. Garcia said he was hoping to find a compromise, either by limiting cruising events to once every few months or possibly charging attendees to help fund the police presence. The 37-year-old La Puente resident said he remembers going to the boulevard as a kid and seeing all the lowriders, old cars and the family atmosphere. “It’s like a way of life for us,” Garcia said. “It did die out for maybe 15 years or so. … We’ve started bringing it back and now all of a sudden Hilda Solis doesn’t want anything to do with it.”

On June 24, the CHP responded to a request for service regarding cruising on Whittier Boulevard. Forty-seven officers were assigned to fixed locations and to do roving enforcement along Whittier Boulevard, according to CHP public information officer Gina Jojola. “We do not have the resources from our area office only to handle that amount of enforcement needed to make the community safe,” Jojola said. “We pull from all our other area offices so we don’t compromise our ability to provide the highest level of enforcement out there … These are major operations.” Twenty-four citations were issued for violations including unlicensed drivers, drivers not using seat belts and vehicle violations. Four vehicles were impounded, Jojola said. Thousands have turned out for these events, Jojola said. Some of the blame is being placed on word spread over social media. “These unsanctioned events have brought Whittier Boulevard to a literal standstill due to the far-reaching attraction of thousands of drivers — some as far away as the Bay Area — to these events as a result of social media,” Jojola said in an email.

It’s become a “highly publicized event” with a magnitude that the local area, especially Whittier Boulevard, cannot handle, Jojola said.

“There’s good people that have amazing cars. But then you’ve got that 10% that want to show off and they want to just tear down Whittier Boulevard,” Jojola said.

Sheriff’s Lt. Samuel Arellano said the department has mostly dealt with concerns over spectators congregating in parking lots of local businesses. “I think in the past it was a regular event and then it kind of went away for several years. … I want to say probably in June we started to experience a few cruising events, there haven’t been that many,” Arellano said. “Not like in the past, in the ’80s when it was very popular.” Eddie Torres, president of the East L.A. Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and a resident of East L.A., said the issue came to his attention about three months ago, when his brother couldn’t go to CVS because the boulevard and parking lots were filled with cruisers. Torres expressed concerns over what he says is an unsafe situation and a drain on resources. “The budget for the county sheriff’s and the highway patrol, they’re not a bottomless pit,” Torres said. “Those budgets came out of taxpayers’ dollars and state funds, and we’re depleting them on unnecessary action … It’s a waste of our valuable resources and only going to hurt us in the long run.”


Officials looking to curb cruising on Whittier Boulevard once more


L.A.'s street art pioneers paint a colorful history
“Art in the Streets” is also meant to be a historical show...
— Jori Finkel

Chicano: What Does The Word Mean And Where Does It Come From?
Lots of people use the word “Chicano,” but what exactly does it mean?...
— Roque Planas

A Mexican Physicist Solved a 2,000-Year Old Problem That Will Lead to Cheaper, Sharper Lenses
Yep, that looks like it all checks out....
— Andrew Liszewski

What does it mean to be Mexican-American?
More than 30 million Americans trace their roots back to Mexico - but what does it mean to be Mexica...
— Aztlan Oldies

Joe Arpaio tells George Lopez to 'go back to his homeland.'
That would be Los Angeles, by the way...
— Bill Goodykoontz

Chicano Rap Pioneer FROST Beats Cancer & Open Heart Surgery
This is for The Raza...
— Aztlan Oldies


Baby Bash & Frankie J Take a Look Back at 2003 Hit 'Suga Suga'
Chart Rewind interview...

Bobby was a Latino rap pioneer...
— Aztlan Oldies

Every Single Thing You Need to Know About Mexican Street TACOS
The Most Common Street Tacos and Their Origin...
— wikipedia

Carnitas, Deliciosa Receta!
Como Hacer Unas Deliciosas Carnitas, Receta Paso Por Paso...
— Chef Rogelio Lara

Can Menudo Really Cure a Hangover?
Menudo for the crudo....

What Goes Into a Tamale?
More than 9,000 years of social, cultural and religious history combine to wrap up one of Mexico and...

Discada norteña
The dish popular in the northern states of Mexico...
— Mely Martínez

Officials looking to curb cruising on Whittier Boulevard once more

Andy Ruiz Jr. TKOs Anthony Joshua to claim heavyweight titles
Ruiz scored one of the biggest upsets in modern heavyweight history...
— Brian Campbell

Be You: Sailor Gonzales
Camaraderie, jam skating and representation in the roller derby community....

Cuco Redefines The Role Of A Teen Idol With 'Para Mí'
Cuco is unlike the perfectly coiffed — and usually white — teen idols of yesteryear...
— Miguel Perez

Chicano groups are embracing undocumented immigrants. It wasn’t always this way.
New alliances are forming in the face of racism and an unprecedented political moment....
— Gustavo Arellano

Spreaker |  Instagram |  Twitter |  Facebook |  Soundcloud |  YouTube

"A Celebration of Lowrider & Chicano Culture"
© Copyright AZTLAN OLDIES. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy