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Hagerstown police target late-night cruisers

November 23, 1998|By KIMBERLY YAKOWSKI

Hagerstown City Police are getting tough on drivers cruising and causing a commotion after midnight in the area of Public Square.

For the past two weeks, local police have prohibited cars from turning left onto Potomac Street off of Franklin Street during late night and early morning hours, primarily on weekends.

There has been noticeable decrease in traffic and noise in the targeted area, Capt. Robert Hart said.

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"It's more inconvenient to cruise the circuit all the way to Prospect Street to come to the Square," Hart said.

The effort is a response to "complaints about cars continually circling the block around the square yelling at pedestrians," he said.

Hart said those causing the problem don't fall into a single category.

"I don't want to blame it on the kids. It's kids, young adults and adults," he said.

City officials decided against creating a "no cruising" ordinance, which would allow police to cite drivers passing a certain area excessively, he said.

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"We felt it wouldn't work because of the number of arteries coming into the city," he said.

In addition, he said, Hagerstown has more residential housing than some areas where such laws are effective, posing a possible nuisance for those residents.

Hart said the idea for the left-turn prohibition came from Sgt. Richard Reynolds.

"It was one of the first options we considered. We thought it was a good idea," he said.

Hart said the operation will continue indefinitely.

Jean Hettenhouser, manager of the Alexander House, 7 E. Washington St., for the past 19 years, said the tenants in her building are often disturbed by the noise from the traffic.

But since the effort began, those complaints have ceased.

"I haven't heard any comments from the tenants one way or another and usually when there is a lot of noise they make it known," she said.

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