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Dozens of tickets issued after a weekend street racing dragnet in Calgary’s southeast

Calgary police have doled out dozens of tickets after a southeast Calgary street racing crackdown over the weekend.

On May 12 and 13, Calgary police were out at 76 Avenue and 68 Street SE, an area well-known for street racing, to try to deter racing in the area.

Officers set up roadblocks, barricaded several streets in the area, and monitored parking lots and traffic in the area, CPS said. Enforcement included the use of the HAWCS helicopter and units from the Traffic Section.

Ninety tickets for speeding, racing, driving and equipment violations were given out. They also issued 51 warnings, seven compliance direction notices (safety issues), and two outstanding warrants.

There was also one Criminal Code violation for a vehicle that was allegedly driving more than 100 km/h over the speed limit.

The Calgary police said street racing has potentially far-reaching consequences.

“Calgary’s industrial areas may seem deserted on the weekends, but semi-trailers and other vehicles continue to travel on those roads around the clock. Pedestrian observers at these activities are also at heightened risk – as there are no safety measures in place and drivers are not professional. The potential for serious collisions as a result of illegal street racing activity is significant,” said Staff Sergeant Robert Patterson of the Calgary Police Service Traffic Section.

“Any behaviour that causes a driver to act unpredictably or potentially lose control of a vehicle is very concerning. This includes racing, doughnuts, burnouts, drifting and other stunting activities.”

Legitimate subculture: Coun. Carra

Ward 9 Coun. Gian-Carlo Carra, whose ward covers the enforcement area, said he understands there’s a significant group of car enthusiasts in Calgary.

“Some of those people are going to sort of channel Vin Diesel and try and get fast and furious with it,” he said.

He knows that one of the straightaways in his ward is a popular street racing area. He said police are actively trying to enforce road rules.

Carra believes the rise in the street racing issue can be traced back to the closure of Race City Speedway in 2011.  

Back in 2021, Ward 10 Coun. Andre Chabot, who also deals with street racing problems in his ward, tried to get a scoping report on potential road closures to allow for street racing.

“If there’s any way that we can as a municipality provide a venue that will help could be monitored and, I guess, regulated, obviously, that would be a better alternative than having them doing it ad hoc on city streets,” Chabot told LiveWire Calgary at the time.

Carra said he’s not sure that’s the answer.

“I think we need legitimate places to race,” he said.

“Any sort of exploration of whether we can sanction this legally on our streets is a liability nightmare. Quite frankly, it sends the wrong message in a climate emergency as well.”

On Tuesday, Coun. Chabot said he’s working with his council colleagues on a revised notice of motion to address street racing. He said the enforcement is welcome, but a longer-term solution is needed.

“I think we need to find a location to enable this sort of activity to happen so that it doesn’t happen illegally on our streets,” Chabot said.