Fells Point taxicab stand not used as much as city police would like

September 22, 1998|By Amy Oakes | Amy Oakes,SUN STAFF

In the dead of winter last year, Gary Ricktor walked the streets of Fells Point for 45 minutes, pushing through crowds of fellow bar-goers and lost tourists in search of a taxicab.

After calling one taxi when the bars closed at 2 a.m., Ricktor, 44, of Baltimore gave up waiting and walked seven blocks until he found one. It's an experience all too familiar for Ricktor and others who frequent the bar scene in Fells Point.

"It's really hard to get a taxi around here," Ricktor said. "My friends from New York City hate it when they visit. They're used to finding cabs right away."

To help bar-goers and others find their way home and to alleviate the thick congestion of traffic in Fells Point on weekends, Baltimore Police set up a taxicab stand in July near the Brown's Wharf parking lots at Thames and Caroline streets.

Taxis and limousines are allowed to park single file along the side of the road and wait for customers.

"It's generally going well but I would like to see it used more" by taxi drivers, said Maj. Timothy Longo, commander of Southeastern District. "It's a work in progress."

Longo said by Halloween, a traditionally busy night in Fells Point, police will be issuing parking citations to taxi and limousine drivers illegally stopping. He said he hopes by then, the idea of a taxi stand will have caught on.

But, some Fells Point merchants and patrons say the stand's location isn't the best -- even if they like the concept.

"It just doesn't make any sense to put it down there, away from the people," said Ed Milburn, owner of Nice N Easy Carry Out at Broadway and Aliceanna Street. He and others wanted the stand closer to Broadway.

Albert Gabriszeski, general manager of Red Ball Taxi Cab

Association on Federal Street, didn't know about the designated stand, but said Fells Point is one of the difficult areas in Baltimore for cab drivers to navigate. He said a place where taxis can line up for customers would bring some order to the busy weekend driving scene.

That's the idea that Ron Furman, owner of Max's on Broadway, hopes will catch on.

Furman, who also is president of the Fells Point Food and Beverage Association, which supports the stand, said it hasn't been used much because people don't know about it.

"It's going to be a big help in this area," Furman said.

Pub Date: 9/22/98

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