Thursday, March 26, 2009

Taxis and Other Developments

No more Taxi Stand for you!

Say goodbye to the taxi stands downtown, late-night party revellers! That is if you haven’t already. After the Guelph Polices Services Board decided to withdraw its support, the city decided to withdraw the signs that were set up at a few locations across the downtown in order to cut down on the noise in surrounding neighbourhoods between the hours of 1 am to 4 am. Now before you blame the police, the police say that you should first look in the mirror to find the guilty party. It seems that taxi drivers were avoiding the taxi stands whenever possible because of the unruly behaviour of those waiting.

“When there is a huge crowd at the stands, people jump into the street and charge towards the approaching cabs and fight with others to get into the cabs,” said the letter to city council. “As a result, neither the cab drivers nor the customers want to go into the taxicab stands as they feel they are not safe.”

The taxi stand project had begun as a one-year pilot in October 2007. Council made the choice to extend the test last July. City staff talked about installing security cameras at the stands to help mitigate bad behaviour, but with just over a month left to go in the project, the city decided to cancel it outright. So what to do? Well, police suggested an expansion of the late night bus service saying that the current late night bus that services the university and south end works well at moving large groups out of downtown. But if you live in one of the other three quadrants of Guelph, you are wholly dependent on cabs, unless you’re sober enough to use your own two feet that is.

“Even with every taxi they have on the road, it takes a couple of hours for the downtown to clear,” the letter continued. “People are forced to hang around waiting on the next available cab, which leads to the disturbances, property damage, garbage strewn about, fouling on public property, a lot of upset store owners in the central business area, and frustrated police officers who have to deal with these same issues every weekend.”

Guelph Transit will examine the case for expanding its late-night bus service as part of 2010 city budget deliberations, a staff report said.

Ask the Experts

The Guelph Civic League is weighing in on the debate surrounding the Hanlon Creek Business Park by hosting a forum asking “What's At Stake?” at Norfolk United Church tonight at 7 pm. A panel made up of citizens groups, city staff, councillors and stakeholders will discuss the issues surrounding the development of the site in the city’s south end. Amongst the scheduled speakers are Judy Martin (Sierra Club Canada and Guelph Urban Forest Friends), James Gordon (Wellington Water Watchers), Matt Soltys (Land Is More Important Than Sprawl), Councillor Lise Burcher (Chair of Community Design and Environmental Services Committee, City of Guelph), Peter Cartwright (General Manager of Economic Development and Tourism, City of Guelph), and Lloyd Longfield (Guelph Chamber of Commerce).

Service Interruptus

The city advises patients over the next couple of weeks as departments and services move from the present locations and into the new Civic Administration Building. The move began on March 17 and will wrap on April 3 when the Mayor and Chief Administrative Officer’s offices are transferred to their new digs. For a complete schedule of the move and what departments are affected when, see the City of Guelph website at

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