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Downtown’s busiest nightlife blocks now have more places to hail a taxi.
The Raleigh City Council last week approved three new taxi zones along bar-lined stretches of Glenwood Avenue and Hargett Street. Raleigh police officers who patrol the area late at night requested the new loading zones.
Police spokesman Jim Sughrue says the change will have two safety benefits. When bars begin to empty out after midnight, cabs jockey for position along the existing taxi zones. That can back up traffic.
Where to catch a cab
Here’s where the new taxi zones are located downtown:
• The east side of Glenwood Avenue north of Tucker Street, across from Glenwood Towers
• The west side of Glenwood Avenue south of Johnson Street, in front of Glenwood Towers
• The south side of Hargett Street west of Wilmington Street, in front of Raleigh Times
Here’s a sampling of the 12 other downtown taxi zones:
• The south side of Martin Street between Wilmington and Blount streets
• The south side of Cabarrus Street next to the Raleigh Convention Center
• The south side of Jones Street in front of Natty Greene’s Pub
• The south side of Tucker Street next to Sullivan’s Steakhouse
The new zones “would likely eliminate some of the congestion that occurs down there as establishments are closing,” Sughrue said.
Police also want to make taxis a more convenient option for late-night partiers, Sughrue said. If more bars and clubs have cabs waiting out front, people who’ve had a few too many drinks are less likely to get behind the wheel.
“It may help prevent DWI cases down there,” he said.
Several taxi drivers said they appreciate the change. Johnson Umeh of AAA Taxi relies heavily on late-night riders – so much so that his cab advertises the fee for vomit clean-up. He says he’d like to see further expansion of taxi zones, because larger cities are less restrictive.
In downtown Raleigh, “there’s no place for the taxis to park,” Umeh said last week while waiting for riders in a jammed taxi zone on Martin Street.
The new taxi zones won’t be in effect during daytime and early evening hours, because there’s less demand for rides then. The sites will be active from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. on Glenwood and 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. on Hargett, according to the city ordinance.
For the rest of the day, the stretches of Glenwood Avenue will continue to serve as bus loading zones. Hargett Street’s late-night taxi depot will remain a commercial loading zone before 10.