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WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) – City leaders met with downtown business owners Thursday night to talk about a possible solution that will fix problems at the downtown taxi stand.
The city set up the stand to help bar-goers find cabs on busy nights. The stand runs down Front Street between Princess and Dock Streets. Drivers aren't supposed to park in these spaces after midnight. However, some cabbies complained the stand wasn't working because cars were parked in the spaces reserved for cabs.
City staff is considering painting the spaces with a message that states, "Taxi only after midnight."
However, they wanted to meet with downtown stakeholders first.
Some business owners who attended the meeting said they believe the stand shouldn't be on Front Street.
Hunter Ford, who owns Momentum Surf and Skate on Front Street, suggested that city leaders move the stand to 2nd and Market.
He said many revelers head to that intersection to find cabs, avoiding congestion on Front Street.
Ford also believes that it will cut down on late-night fighting after the bars close.
"Having drunk people standing around waiting for a cab in a group, eating pizza or whatever, and then more drunk people coming out of the bars, it doesn't mix well," said Hunter, who also lives on Front Street. "Somebody is going to bump somebody, I know because I listen to this every weekend."
City staff believes painting the spots is a low-cost solution and likely worth testing out for a pilot program.
If it doesn't work, city employees say they can easily paint over the spots again.
There are currently signs that ask drivers not to park in the spots. However, they are 7-feet high and Wilmington Police Chief Ralph Evangelous said that makes them difficult to see. He said the department wrote 1,000 tickets from January to June of this year. He did not feel comfortable towing cars because he felt the signage was inadequate.
City staff indicated they will take the comments from the meeting and hold an internal meeting next week to talk about what to do next.
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