COEUR d'ALENE - Taxis, take your places.
Double-parkers, you're not allowed.
The city of Coeur d'Alene passed a pair of rules Tuesday night aimed at keeping its downtown safer at night by preventing patrons from clustering in certain spots.
Firstly, a taxi stand will be established on the east side of Fourth Street from Front Avenue to Sherman Avenue from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m. every night.
Secondly, No Pick up and Drop-off zones for all cars in the same evening hours will be marked on four downtown areas.
Sherman Avenue between Third Street and Fifth Street; the west side of Fourth Street between Front Avenue and Lakeside Avenue, and the east side of Fourth Street between Sherman Avenue and Lakeside Avenue; and on Lakeside Avenue between First Street and Third streets.
That rule is being called the "No Double Parking" ordinance. It's OK to pull into a parking spot on those streets to pick up, but motorists can't double park to do it.
"We're not saying this is that magic pill that will solve all the problems," Police Chief Wayne Longo said. "If it doesn't work we can always go back and change it."
The rules were adopted to relieve "pressure zones" for areas that see a lot of traffic around the downtown bars at night. For the last year, city officials have been working with bar owners to identify ways to make downtown safer after the city center's reputation took a hit following an increase in calls for police service there, including a couple of high profile fighting incidents.
Around a dozen cab companies service the downtown area at night.
Some felt it was an unnecessary step, and that they weren't involved in the conversation when the rule changes were being discussed.
"They're making it harder for the taxis," said Scott Dimberg, who operates Scott's Taxi, and feels that clustering the people together at one stand will just transfer the congestion to another spot. He said that public safety could be jeopardized by the new rules. By making it harder for drinkers to hail a cab, they might be more inclined to get behind the wheel.
"When it comes to a safety issue we need to be there to get them," he said.
But the City Council and police said that wasn't the case.
Longo, who said police respond to a couple of fights a night downtown Thursday through Saturday, added police would be meeting with cab companies to discuss the matter further. In the meantime, the rules were adopted on a trial basis that, if it doesn't work, could be brought up again in the near future.
Another proposed rule change requiring bar and restaurant servers to become certified through a one-time course was postponed until Monday, Feb. 21 at the General Services Committee meeting for further discussion.