CHICAGO (CBS) — Fast and furious neighbors have turned a parking lot into a drag strip – ticking off residents of the McKinley Park neighborhood.
As CBS 2’s Charlie De Mar reported Wednesday night, some changes are finally coming to the strip mall housing a Mariano’s store at Archer and Ashland avenues where the drag racing has been happening. But is a problem years in the making.READ MORE: Thieves Keep Using Postal Master Keys To Steal Mail: How Are They Getting A Hold Of Those Keys?
The parking lot is covered in thick black tire marks. It is a regular meetup spot for car enthusiasts, but it’s a nuisance for people who live nearby, and it is keeping people away from stores.
The drag racers who use the lot have been doing burnouts, drifting, donuts – whatever you call it, some residents in McKinley Park want it to stop.
“They have taken over the mall,” said Jim Kozy of McKinley Park. “There were literally, on last Saturday, hundreds and hundreds of cars here.”
Kozy shot video from a distance. But those behind the wheel aren’t hiding – they post their own videos online.
“Just afraid that someone is going to get really hurt or killed,” Kozy said. “It’s really bad.”READ MORE: Chicago Weather: Wednesday Starts On A Chilly Note
“We’re going to try and stop it,” said Ald. George Cardenas (12th). “It’s been going on for too long, and the community is fed up.”
Cardenas said he plans on introducing new legislation to address the problem.
“It’s going to be unlawful to do the activity they are doing here right now in the near future,” he said.
The alderman said license plate readers will soon go up for the CPD to monitor. The property owners have agreed to install swinging gates at the entrances and have already increased security – something more substantial than the speed bumps previously added to combat the issue.
The new ordinance could also cite spectators who come out and watch the parking lot spectacle. A similar move was made in Dallas.
“Police can come in, but they can’t chase 300 people,” Cardenas said. “It’s been years in the making, but I think with the pandemic, it’s gotten really, really bad.”MORE NEWS: View Live Radar
Off camera, some car enthusiasts said cracking down on the parking lot at Ashland and Archer will not really solve the problem – as the car enthusiasts will just move to another parking lot, or worse, into the streets.