NATIONAL CITY, Calif. — A beloved tradition is back after many decades in National City. Lowrider cruising is now legal in National City on the first Friday of the month through October.
National City Mayor Alejandra Sotelo-Solis is thrilled and a fan of lowriders. She said this is a celebration of bringing back cruising to Highland Avenue
"When people weren't able to afford new vehicles off the showroom they went and fixed up an old clunker and made it their own adding colors the images of loved ones specific people then introduced to pinstripe how you color," said Sotelo-Solis.
Thirty years ago, cruising was banned because of the crime associated with it.
"There was a lot of violence and activity and loitering going on it was connected to lowriding," said Sotelo-Solis.
But on Friday night, the classic cars hit the National City streets.
In December, the city suspended a law for six months to allow cruising on the first Friday of every month from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Highland Avenue. Lowriders say it's a pilot program and after the trial period, the city will determine the events and whether to lift the ordinance. In April the council agreed that it will take place between Sixth and 28th streets from May to October.
The law prohibited riding low and slow on Highland Ave, if it's more than once, while cruising with lowriders, low bikes or classic cars. The ordinance was meant to alleviate traffic congestion, stemming from lowriders cruising and also to avoid crime.
Lowriders say police have not enforced the law in years, but those cruising have established a relationship with officials to make this a safe environment.
Marcos Arellano says to them it was an expression of art and a cultural identity for many in Southern California. In National City, men and women were joining 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 back then, I didn’t have a lot of money,” said Marisa Rosales, who is also a lowrider.
With regulations having police patrol the events, it will avoid traffic congestion and any issues from crowds gathering to see the artistic slow cruise.
Meanwhile other city council members say this ban was discriminatory in the early 90’s and argues that it was intended to profile people of color.
“You can talk to some of the lowriders who have been ticketed dozens of times, without actually doing anything,” said Councilmember Marcus Bush, who opposes the ban. He says other cities in the South Bay have also seen cruising, but National City is still the one with a law that prohibits it on a street.
Want to check out one of the cruises? Future cruises will take place between 6 – 9 p.m. on the following dates.
- Friday, June 3, 2022
- Friday, July 1, 2022
- Friday, August 5, 2022
- Friday, September 2, 2022
- Friday, October 7, 2022
WATCH: National City approves lowrider cruising