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Alder Scott J. Resnick

Alder Scott J. Resnick

Home Address:
661 Mendota Ct # 1404
Madison , WI 53703

Phone: 608-807-7962
Common Council Office:
210 Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd
Room 417
Madison, WI 53703
Phone: (608) 266-4071
Fax: (608) 267-8669
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Cabs on State

July 26, 2012 8:39 AM

The State Street Mall is often stressed by pedestrians, buses, cyclists, delivery vehicles, emergency vehicles, and taxi cab operators. To elevate this stress and comply with the original grant that funded State Street's redesign in the 1970's, the Mayor reopened the discussion of State Street traffic and encouraged the enforcement of existing laws that restricted taxi cruising State Street. After a lengthy public process and three hearings, the Downtown Coordinated Committee is unanimously recommending that taxi cabs be permitted to cruise on State Street between 10 pm to 4 am.

After listening to five of the seven hours of testimony, I came to the same conclusion as the sub-committee. Below are some highlighted concerns presented by the Mayor, staff and constituents, followed by my conclusions:

• Cab drivers (although far from the majority) were regularly abusing traffic laws on State Street. For example one late night driver preformed two illegal U-turns endangering pedestrians
• Cabs cruising for fares create obstacles for City buses
• Permissible vehicles on State Street were determined only after extensive public discourse and to overturn that decision without discussion is contrary to the City process
• Cruising is not environmentally-friendly

When State Street was converted to a pedestrian transit mall, the intention was to create a main street for pedestrians and mass transit. This was clear from the hearings and presented documents. However, today the demands for the street are as great as ever.

Evidence in defense for having the cabs on State Street was also lengthy. Foremost, cabs provide a safety element to late-night Madison. When police officers go off duty at 3 am, often cab drivers continue to look for fares. Cab drivers report incidents to 911 and assist in bringing an order to bar-time.

There were also arguments presented that didn't hold: Madison drunks cannot understand or safely maintain cab stands; waiting for cabs on Langdon is safer than State Street; or that taxis will jeopardize State Street's status as a fixed guide way.

I am in favor of cabs remaining on State Street during bar time, and I do believe there is a general expectation from tourists that one can hail a cab. Although, as our population grows, we must look towards the future by improving the safety of cyclists and increasing mass transit. This should include taxi stands off State Street, better curb cuts and delivery routes for trucks that do not rely on on-street loading, and smart grid technology that would provide for red-light free passage for city buses.


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