Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Traffic Jam at City Council: Boise Lawmakers Apply Brakes to Proposed Taxi Rules

Posted By on Wed, Feb 1, 2012 at 9:06 AM

The Boise City Council put an effort to rewrite the city's taxi ordinances in park Tuesday night, following more than two hours of testimony on the proposals, almost all negative.

The plans, drawn up by Boise legal and adminstrative staff, would have made some big changes to the city's taxi ordinances, including new requirements that drivers demonstrate the ability to speak and understand English, a week-long extension of specific pick-up and drop-off zones in the downtown area, and restrictions on the age of vehicles.

A human traffic jam of taxi drivers and owners stood before the council, which met at the Idaho Statehouse while City Hall is under construction, urging the lawmakers to say "no" to the changes.

"This is not San Francisco-east," said David Welch. "This is not Cape Cod-west. This is Boise."

Each person testifying had a problem with at least one of the proposed changes. As the evening progressed, the increasing negative comments caused enough congestion to get council members' attention.

"My guess is that we need to take a little time," said Councilman David Eberle. "We should consider some of the anticipated consequences."

Council Member Lauren McLean joined other lawmakers to suggest several of the prosposals be revisited.

"There's so much in here that is beyond my original concerns," said McLean.

Council Member Elaine Clegg said she agreed with some citizens who struggled with the quantity vs. the quality of the proposed changes.

"I tend to agree with some of the folks who said that making the ordinances longer doesn't necessarily make them better," said Clegg.

Ultimately, the council asked staff to return with some new proposals, to be considered at a future work session.

Three hours after the the Tuesday evening meeting began, Mayor Dave Bieter turned to his fellow lawmakers and said, "Do you think we could get a taxi company to deliver some coffee here?"

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