May 5, 2021 - News

Street racing isn't just a problem in downtown Des Moines

Illustration of a car's rear-view mirror, in which tire tracks and a dust cloud can be seen.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Scooping the loop was our hot topic a few weeks back, but some Des Moines residents say the late-night racing isn't exclusive to downtown.

State of play: In our warmer months, loud engines and squeaky tires are ubiquitous in some parts of Des Moines and we're really starting to hear them now.

  • But while Des Moines residents report and complain about it every year ... we're far from any solutions.

Details: Des Moines' east side is a popular choice for street racers, especially over by Dixon, Euclid and Guthrie by the warehouses and gas stations, said Jeff Witte, president of the Fairmont Park Neighborhood Association.

  • "Most people don't ride their bikes during the wintertime, so it's nice and quiet," Witte said. "But then come springtime, you don't get no rest."

One of the popular spots, especially last year, was the Kum & Go off Guthrie Ave, neighbors and councilperson Linda Westergaard told Axios. In the past year and a half, police say they received 14 calls about racers and reckless driving in this area.

Westergaard said she's worked to curb racing over the last two years with DMPD and Polk County Sheriff's Office, pushing for increased enforcement and encouraging neighbors to report incidents.

  • Yes, but: It can be difficult to police without knowing what time racers will congregate or when they'll disperse.
  • These last three weeks, racing has subsided as law enforcement targets specific streets and businesses hire their own private security.

What's next: The racers will move and likely find a new spot, starting the whole process all over again.


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