With the aid of an emergency ordinance, the City Council could outlaw one of the classic expressions of California's love affair with the automobile--cruising--in the city's congested streets.
The council on Monday night will debate the ordinance, which would require a two-thirds vote to be approved as an emergency ordinance and take effect immediately. If passed, the ordinance would empower police to issue citations to drivers who cruise along South Bristol Street between McFadden and Warner avenues during weekend evenings.
Cruising has been a major problem in Santa Ana, where drivers have disturbed neighborhoods with loud music, littering and drug dealing, city officials said.
In the ordinance, cruising is defined as "the driving of a motor vehicle three or more times within a four-hour period, in a particular direction, past a traffic-control point established at or near a place where traffic is congested."
In a memo to Deputy City Manager Jan Perkins, Police Chief Paul Walters wrote that police officers have been hampered by the lack of an ordinance on cruising. Officers are restricted to directing traffic and issuing citations for other municipal code violations, according to the chief.
On some Santa Ana streets, cruising can cause congestion involving up to 700 cars, Walters wrote.