Late-night partiers in historic St. Charles may soon have an easier time catching a cab home.
The city council recently approved the creation of a taxi loading zone on the north side of Monroe Street between Main Street and Riverfront Drive.
The zone will allow taxi drivers to line up between 10 p.m. and 2:30 a.m. which will help get the mass numbers of people out of the area after the bars close.
Many of the crimes reported in North Main Street—from public urination to vandalism—happen in those early morning hours.
In addition, the city also created a 15-minute loading and unloading zone for limos and buses on the north side of Jefferson Street between Riverside Drive and Main Street. The loading zone will be in effect Thursday to Sunday from 5 p.m. to 1 a.m.
The goal is to keep large vehicles from clogging up Main Street.
New Police Chief Randy McKinley said Bloomington, Ill. had a similar problem with large crowds of people congregating in the bar district when the bars let out around 2 or 3 a.m.
"The biggest problems were dropping all those kid off at 10:30 or 11 p.m. at night and then picking them up," he said.
McKinley said a downtown entertainment taskforce created a plan in which buses would show up in the bar area, charge $1 a person and get large masses of kids out of downtown Bloomington when the bars close.
"They don't have to drive, they don't have to park, they've got cheap transportation," he said.
The St. Charles street committee planned to look further at McKinley's suggestions. Last year, Mayor Sally Faith created a Main Street taskforce aimed at coming up with ideas to address crime on North Main. Among the suggestions were adding a police substation and starting bike patrols.
For now, the city is planning to create signs marking the taxi and limo loading zones and to inform transportation companies of the new zones downtown. The zones will be in use in April and police will begin enforcing the drop off area after several weeks.