Police set up barricades along South Street in Philadelphia to curb ATV, dirt bike riding

Sunday, May 26, 2024
Police set up barricades along South Street in Philadelphia to curb ATV, dirt bike riding
Police set up barricades along South Street in Philadelphia to curb ATV, dirt bike riding

PHILADLEPHIA (WPVI) -- More than 30 dirt bike and ATV riders raced down South Street in Philadelphia on Saturday night.

Police said that's why people may see barricades set up from 5th to 2nd streets on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights during the summer.

"The number one priority for me is safety," said Philadelphia Police Lt. Steven Ricci. "I think that this does quell a lot of the quality-of-life issues, the tailgating, the reckless behavior, the reckless driving."

Lt. Ricci said the barricades along with a parked police vehicle are the best temporary solutions to prevent dirt bike riders and tailgaters from causing chaos and danger in the area.

"We want to put the barricades up on a nightly basis as needed," said Ricci. "There might be a night where we don't need them. That's great. We don't want to shut the streets down, but if we have to, I'll make that call."

Some say they support the closures.

"It's definitely a plus because you don't want to see people get hurt," said Andre Adams from Delaware County.

"If they help control the crowds and nuisance behavior and keep riff-raff off the street, I think they're great," said Kenneth Silver, president of Jim's South Street.

Many business owners like John Foy, who runs Bridget Foy's on South Street, said these barricades create roadblocks for them.

"Whenever they go up, business just stops," said Foy. "It closes the street. It gives the illusion that we as businesses are closed for the night when we aren't."

"In past years, relayed the image that South Street wasn't safe or that a crime had just happened, and it was generally a turn-off to one of the most heavily toured districts in the city," said Eleanor Ingersoll, the South Street Headhouse District executive director.

Ingersoll said there needs to be a multi-agency approach to resolve this years-old problem.

"The city needs to step up with resources that will help both of us manage this situation because right now, it's not sustainable the way it is," said Ingersoll.

Councilmember Mark Squilla said they're brainstorming solutions, including speed cushions, sound meter cameras for enforcement, and cobblestone streets.

He also said they're working with police to confiscate the illegal vehicles. Police say at least three bikes were confiscated on Saturday night.

Meanwhile, Ricci and Ingersoll say they will continue to collaborate while hoping to work with Mayor Cherelle Parker's administration to find a long-term solution.

"We both want ultimately, the safest most enjoyable district in the city, and the only way we're going to get there is if we work together," said Ingersoll.

Meanwhile, police have a message for reckless drivers.

"Please don't come down here and do that kind of stuff," said Ricci. "This is a great community. People live here. There's a lot of people who own a lot of these businesses who have been here for years, and they're struggling right now, and a lot of this nuisance behavior is playing into that."