Most of us have enjoyed "cruising" sometime in our lives. For many, it was one of our favorite pastimes. If you lived in the "American Graffiti" era, it was the in thing of to do. I remember when cruising was a popular activity on Main Street in Mesa for many years, until it was banned a few years ago. Now the controversy is over whether to ban cruising on Central Avenue in Phoenix. City officials are trying to reroute the weekend riders to Washington and Jefferson streets. Although cruising may be enjoyable to quite a few teenagers, there is no positive purpose for it. The negative effects of cruising outweigh the reasons for it by far. Cruising should be banned altogether because cruisers have proven to be very loud, dangerous, and a contributor to our pollution problem.
I have sympathy for those who live near Central Avenue. The weekends are very noisy in this vicinity. For example, some of the stereos blasting away could accommodate a rock concert. The base volume coming out of these speakers is felt in your heart as you drive along Central Avenue. I know this because I have been one of these cruisers in the past. It seems as if a contest is going on to see who has the loudest stereo on Central. Besides blaring stereos, the noise from kids screaming out the windows at each other, is also a nuisance.
In addition to being very noisy, cruisers create dangerous situations that could be avoided if it were banned. For example, in my teenage years when I cruised Main Street in Mesa, I remember one incident in particular when we were "cruising". Some friends and I drove by some guys in a truck that were obviously drunk. For no reason at all, one of the guys fired a beer bottle at us while we were driving. The bottle hit the top of the driver's window and some of the glass shattered and flew into the window cutting the face of the girl face sitting next to me. This was her first time cruising and she was only 15 or 16 years old. Another example of dangerous events that have happened to cruisers in the past occurred when a good friend of mine had a gun shot at him. Luckily it missed. This wasn't the case last summer on Central Avenue. I recall some graduating seniors from Westwood High school were shot and seriously injured. These kinds of things happen often while kids are cruising for so called fun.
Cruising is exciting and I guess this is why so many kids like the activity. They say it is a good place to meet people. The only problem is you don't know the people you are meeting. You don't know if these new acquaintances are carrying a shotgun under the seat of their car. You don't know how many drinks these people you meet, or just look at, have had. Cruising is a dangerous activity, but most kids won't admit it because they think they are immortal. I never thought anything would happen to me where I would be seriously injured. I was very fortunate, but others won't be if this activity continues.
Besides being fun and exciting cruising gives people an opportunity to show off their cars. Instead of wasting gas and polluting the air in Phoenix, maybe the cruisers could show off their cars in the parking lot of the school dance or McDonalds or Jack in the Box. Kids hang out at these places anyway. I'm sure there are other places to show off their cars and crank their stereos. I think many people would agree that it is fine to have their stereos and radical cars and show them off, as long as they are away from residential neighborhoods where people are trying to sleep.
We know what the teenage years are like; just surviving these crazy years is a challenge. Eliminating "cruising" would help increase the odds of making it through this transition period. The reasons to cruise for fun, excitement and meeting new friends, just doesn't cut it in my book. There are plenty of other entertaining things to do instead. There aren't enough good reasons to keep the cruisers on Central Avenue.