COLUMBIA — Downtown patrons waiting for a ride home on weekend nights might be able to continue using the designated taxi stands that were originally implemented as a pilot project.
The Columbia City Council will vote Monday on whether to keep the taxi stands in operation.
There are currently five designated taxi stands and six “no pick-up/drop-off” zones downtown in operation from 9 p.m. to 2:30 a.m. Thursday through Sunday. The pilot project began in May 2011.
Jesse Hamilton, a Columbia resident, typically uses the taxi stands downtown at least once a week and likes the establishment of specific spots for taxis.
“As long as they have designated hours, so during the daytime if I can still park in these metered spots, I think that’s great because there are enough spots around town where people coming downtown can park,” Hamilton said.
Suggestions from the Downtown Community Improvement District include permanent signs to better indicate to people and motorists where the taxi stands and “no pick-up/drop-off” zones are located. The organization also suggested painting the taxi stand curbs in black and yellow checkers to serve as a visual indicator.
Better visual signage could reduce the amount of improper parking by non-designated vehicles. Between July 22 and Dec. 31, 175 taxi stand parking citations were issued, according to a document from the city manager, Mike Matthes, and staff.
The “no pick-up/drop-off” zones are located on both sides of Broadway between Seventh Street and Short Street; both sides of Cherry Street between Ninth Street and Tenth Street; both sides of Hitt Street between Broadway and Cherry Street; Ninth Street between Walnut Street and University Avenue; Sixth Street between Broadway and Walnut Street and Tenth Street between Broadway and Locust Street.
If City Council passes the ordinance, the taxi stands will be located at a portion of Broadway, at Cherry Street between Hitt Street and Tenth Street, on Locust Street between Ninth Street and Tenth Street and on a portion of Ninth Street.
Kyle Robertson, who was waiting for a taxi Friday night, said that it is difficult at times to find a taxi without specific locations.
“It’s a good idea, because it’s a designated spot instead of chasing people around,” Robertson said.
The ordinance would also allow buses, limousines and STRIPES vehicles to stop in the designated spots.