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Renton’s plan to take down illegal street racing

SR 167 as it passes through Puyallup. (WSDOT)

Renton is poised to put the brakes on hundreds of illegal racers who take to its streets each week.

“We’ve had accidents, people who have been injured so the impact is huge,” said Pretti Sharidhar with the City of Renton. “For those minutes of fun, there’s a lot to pay and it’s just not worth it.”

“There’s a lot of noise,” she said. “These cars are often fitted with equipment to make them really loud … but also, at the end of the day, this is illegal.”

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Renton is reaching out to Tukwila, Auburn and other nearby cities to help with increased patrols for troublesome street speeders. The city is also looking into road modifications to counter the problem.

“We’re also looking at different ways we can deter the racing,” Sharidhar said. “If not a roundabout it could be some kind of speed bumps, signs, traffic engineering options so that they don’t use the areas.”

Renton street racing

Loitering, littering, trespassing and the noise has neighbors calling police at all hours of the night. Street racing isn’t new to Renton, but police think there’s been an increase in how many racers are out there. Much of the problem is along Route 167, according to the Renton Reporter. The route connects Renton with Kent and Auburn. On fair weather days, as many as 400 racers can be seen on the road in Renton.

The racing goes beyond simple “minutes of fun,” as Sharidhar puts it. The Reporter also notes that the racers are highly organized with systems of communication. This makes it easy for them to set up races and switch locations if needed. The races last 10-15 minutes, which makes it a challenge for police to respond if someone reports a a race to 911.

In July, 40 people were arrested amid one incident. Arrests were for racing, minors in possession, and one stolen car.

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