KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) — The city of Kalamazoo held a virtual forum Monday night to receive community input on how to address mobile parties like the X-Train.
Local leaders heard from residents who called for a new comprehensive approach to respond to the parties that produce noise and safety concerns into the early hours of the morning.
Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety Assistant Chief David Boysen says the parties can quickly overwhelm a neighborhood and first responders.
“When these groups park and congregate in a residential street, they’ll block the entire street in both direction, which means if you have a loved one or family member on that street that has a medical emergency, we can’t get apparatus or ambulances down the street to respond to that,” Boysen said.
According to Boysen, people taking part in these events can be charged with a 90-day misdemeanor.
Between last March and the end of May, the city sent 120 warning letters to the owners of vehicles linked to the parties. Some of those letters went to rental car companies.
“The speed bumps are not effective,” one resident said.
She told the forum the police response and approach are not working, and hundreds of cars continue to bother her neighborhood.
“It’s not OK for them to invade a neighborhood and unfortunately, they are here until six, seven o’clock in the morning. We like to sleep. We pay our taxes like anyone else does,” she said.
The city plans to install additional speed bumps this year. The director of public works says they reach out to residents on the street for input before any are put in place.
Stephanie Williams, a Kalamazoo resident, is calling for action after years of stagnation on the issue.
“We’re talking about almost a decade now of talking, talking, talking about the same issue that’s happening in the most vulnerable neighborhood but would not ever be allowed to happen in other more affluent neighborhoods,” Williams said.
City Commissioner Eric Cunningham wants the approach to be more than speed bumps and public safety officers responding.
“The more opportunity we take to have these dialogs on a communitywide basis, I think we can pull in more resources and then better educate ourselves on how we can approach and build up opportunities for these younger individuals and even some individuals who are my age,” Cunningham said.
The city will announce a plan for addressing these parties at another virtual meeting on March 22.