OGDEN — The Ogden City Police Department says it’s stepping up efforts to catch and cite drag racers along Washington Boulevard.
The Ogden City Council has received multiple complaints about street racing issues — and the noise that comes along with it — on the city’s main street. Council Member Doug Stephens said he’s heard the complaints and even noticed the activity himself, which typically takes place during the weekends and evenings and has been centered near the area of Washington’s intersection with Riverdale Road.
The Ogden Police Department began extra patrols of the area clear back in 2019 and the issue subsided for a while, but activity apparently began creeping up again this spring.
“I’ve still noticed ... sometimes cars are going a little bit faster,” Stephens said.
In an email to the Standard-Examiner, Ogden resident Scott Borgstrom said he lives on Washington and has noticed the amount of racers and the frequency racing getting out of control. He said a friend of his was hit in a Washington crosswalk by racers, suffering several broken bones. He said he also regularly sees large crowds of racers gathered in front of local businesses on the street.
Ogden Police Chief Randy Watt said his department is fully aware of the issue and has been increasing patrols on Washington to help curb the behavior.
“We’ve had extensive enforcement along Washington Boulevard,” he said. “Particularly South Washington and the area of Riverdale Road, where we’ve had the extreme amount of complaints.”
According to information OPD provided to the council, from May 8 to July 25, the police department completed 250 vehicle stops in the South Washington vicinity, which resulted in 262 violations and 12 vehicles impoundments.
OPD has also assigned a full-time officer position to monitor the situation and has accrued more than 110 overtime hours patrolling the area since May. OPD has also conferred with the Utah Highway Patrol, which has committed to assisting with enforcement efforts when they have available officers. Washington Boulevard through Ogden is actually a United States highway, a portion of U.S. 89.
The Ogden City Engineering Division could potentially adjust traffic signal times to reduce speeds on South Washington but will first have to assess how that would impact air quality and traffic flow. The police department has also been enforcing Ogden City’s noise ordinance for music from stereo systems and exhaust. Police officers have decimeters at their disposal to enforce loud exhaust violations.
Watt said it may take a while for racers to get the message, but constant enforcement will help.
“This problem is not going to go away for a while,” he said. “But we’ll keep assigning personnel to work it.”