Lowrider Cruise Returns | The national city approves a cruise for the first time in 30 years

The National City Council has granted permission to the United Lowrider Coalition to sail again. The cruises will take place on the first Friday, starting in May.

NATIONAL CITY, California – Dozens of low-flying passengers hope May 6 will be the first of many legal cruise nights in the South Bay, following an order banning it for 30 years.

“It’s going to be like a parade going down Highland. You know, saying hello to a lot of our friends, people we haven’t seen in years,” said Marcus Arleno, who is a low-car and part of the United Lowriders Coalition.

In December, the municipality suspended the law for six months to allow cruising on the first Friday of each month from 6pm to 9pm on Highland Boulevard. Lowriders say this is a pilot and after the trial period, the municipality will determine the events and whether to revoke the ordinance. Last Tuesday, the council agreed that it will take place between Sixth and 28th streets from May to October.

“I mean, 30 years have passed that have been restricted to us and sometimes we cruise once down the Highlands, but that’s it,” Arlano said.

The law prohibits low and slow riding on Highland Ave, if it is more than once, while cruising with low riding, low bikes or classic cars.

The ordinance is intended to alleviate traffic congestion resulting from low-speed cruising and also prevent crime.

Lowriders drivers say police have not cared about the law for years, but those who sail have formed a relationship with officials to make it a safe environment.

However, with the ordinance established, dozens of Lowrid riders were harmed, such as Arellano and Rosales who immediately gained a passion for Lowriding in the early 1990s.

Arlano tells them it was an expression of art and cultural identity for many in Southern California. In the city of National, men and women joined the low and slow cruise.

“I mean, I put a lot of money in my car, a lot of sacrifice. I mean I was a college student at the time, I didn’t have a lot of money,” said Marissa Rosales, who is also a low-key driver.

Still, as it gained popular attention, more masses began to gather. This means that incorrect masses ignited problems that caused crime during the cruise show. Crimes that were not related to the low riders, but painted them in a bad light because of the problems. City leaders say crime has been at an all-time high, which is why the 1992 No Cruise Order was passed.

“All the people the cruise pulled were the ones who caused a lot of problems so we became kind of the county’s crime capital. And a lot of that was because of what happens on Friday nights. Business was killed,” said councilman Ron Morrison, who said he supports lowriders but also supports regulations.

With police regulations to patrol events, this will prevent traffic congestion and any problem of crowds gathering to see the artistic slow sailing.

Meanwhile other city council members say this ban was discriminatory in the early 1990s and claim it was meant to create a profile of people of color.

“You can talk to some of the low riders who have won tickets dozens of times, without doing anything,” said councilman Marcus Bush, who opposes the ban. He said other cities in South Bay have also seen cruises, but National City is still the one with a law banning it on the street.

Arlano, like many other low-level drivers, recognizes that this art exhibit attracts large crowds from Tijuana to even Sacramento, but claims they encourage good behavior and self-regulate. The United Lowrider Coalition has called on anyone planning to attend cruise nights to abide by traffic laws, avoid drinking and clean up after themselves.

This first cruise will be at Sweetwater High School, and vehicles will line up and cruise at 6 p.m.

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