With the onset of warmer weather, Coon Rapids police are bracing for the return of weekly car cruises on Coon Rapids Boulevard and the unwanted driving behaviors that come with it.

The City Council last month amended its traffic ordinance to beef up enforcement of laws governing noise, street racing and other inappropriate driving maneuvers associated with the events, which have been held on weekend nights for the past two years between Egret and Round Lake boulevards.

"This is a tool where we can enforce the issues and quality of life stuff," said Capt. Adam Jacobson with the Coon Rapids Police Department. "Come and have a good time. Let people see the cars, but no street racing, squealing of tires or noisy mufflers."

Most of the traffic code changes simply tidy up laws already on the books, but one big change allows officers to issue citations to passengers, non-driving participants and organizers "if they aid and abet the illegal behavior in some way," the ordinance reads.

Merely standing on the side of the road watching the procession of hot rods, Lamborghinis and decked-out cars would not be a crime. But actions such as car occupants hanging out windows or bystanders videotaping drivers doing burnouts are now ticketable offenses.

"This is not going to fix all of what ails us in terms of street racing or the cruise," city attorney David Brodie said during an April council meeting. "Somebody who is actively participating or helping out these main actors ... that is a key component to the ordinance."

The new language clarifies that breaking the traction of the vehicle's tires, unnecessarily spinning the tires continuously by increasing the engine speed and steering the vehicle in a manner unnecessary for navigation is against the law. The ordinance also states that "no vehicle shall produce a sharp popping or crackling sound."

The city took action in response to noise complaints from residents who live near Coon Rapids Boulevard.

"Thank you very much for this," said Council Member Sean Novack, who lives near Coon Rapids Boulevard. "I can tell you at night on weekends, this is all you hear. It's almost as bad as the trains that go by. To hear you have the tools to take care of this kind of thing makes me and a lot of people feel good about this."

Officers will still have to observe an infraction to issue a citation.

New ramp meters on Hwy. 610

Drivers entering Hwy. 610 in Coon Rapids and Brooklyn Park likely noticed new freeway ramp meters at five interchanges.

MnDOT activated meters on entrance ramps leading to eastbound Hwy. 610 from Hwy. 169, W. Broadway, Zane Avenue and Noble Parkway. Meters also went live on the ramp from East River Road to westbound Hwy. 610.

This marked the first time in more than 20 years that MnDOT has added a new corridor to its ramp metering network, spokeswoman Kirsten Klein said.

Meters are designed to space out entering motorists to keep traffic on the main corridor flowing at optimum speeds.