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Council to test anti-cruising law

October 10, 2000

Council to test anti-cruising law



By DAN KULIN / Staff Writer


Hagerstown will probably test-drive a law intended to stop people from driving in circles around downtown.

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A majority of City Council members agreed Tuesday to vote for an anti-cruising law that would expire after two years. If the law is deemed successful the council could then make it permanent.

The proposed law would prohibit cruising along East Franklin and East Washington streets between Potomac Street and Cleveland Avenue from 7 p.m. to 2 a.m. Cruising is defined as driving past a point in the designated area three or more times during a two-hour period. Those caught cruising could be fined as much as $250.

The owner of the vehicle would be fined if he or she is present. Otherwise the driver would be fined.

The council is expected to vote to introduce the law Oct. 24 and take a final vote on the matter in November, said Mayor Robert E. Bruchey II.

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Councilmen Alfred W. Boyer and J. Wallace McClure said they support the law.

Councilwoman Susan Saum-Wicklein said she supports the law, but asked that it expire after two years. If the law doesn't work it will not continue. If the law works the council could make it permanent, she said.

Boyer and McClure agreed to include the two-year "sunshine" provision in the law.

Councilman William M. Breichner said Tuesday he was not sure whether or not he will vote for the new law.

Councilman Lewis C. Metzner opposes a law to ban cruising. He said the proposed law appears to be aimed at drug dealers. Government is banning a legal activity to catch criminals, he said.

The mayor has said one reason for the ordinance is those cruising the streets provide good cover for those looking to buy illegal drugs.

Metzner said he would prefer to find other ways to discourage people from cruising around downtown.

In response to Metzner, Bruchey said the law is primarily intended to improve the quality of life for downtown residents by eliminating or reducing the noise from cruisers.

The Hagerstown law is modeled after a Chambersburg, Pa., anti-cruising ordinance.

Ted Bodnar, an East Franklin Street resident who supports the anti-cruising law, was upset the proposed law faced any opposition.

"I got my cruising ordinance but it wasn't easy to get," said Bodnar, who has complained about traffic noise he says is caused in part by cruisers.

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