By Carla Zanoni
WASHINGTON HEIGHTS — News of proposed changes to a neighborhood taxi stand garnered scant opposition Tuesday night during a Community Board 12 traffic and transportation committee meeting — largely because residents said they were not aware it even existed.
Residents expressed surprise at the revelation that there was a taxi stand on West 181st Street near Fort Washington Avenue in Hudson Heights, saying they were unaware the neighborhood had implemented any dedicated areas for the cars to park. The city is asking to shut down the stand for a few hours every day to reduce truck congestion in the area.
"The drivers just park all over the place," Washington Heights resident Maurice Dellagio said after the meeting. "If the taxi stand is supposed to make sure they don't park in metered spots, what will taking that stand (away) do?"
News of the stand change came during a Department of Transportation presentation regarding the latest version of a traffic proposal for the notoriously congested 181st Street. The plan, which also includes the creation of left-hand turn banks, traffic-abating medians and expanded pedestrian areas, will be made available on the department's website this week.
The department proposed eliminating the taxi stand during peak hours in order to help facilitate deliveries for neighborhood stores and restaurants and alleviate traffic jams caused by double parked trucks. The plan still has to be approved before any changes are made.
The 181st Street taxi stand is not the only taxi stand in the area. Another taxi stand is normally located at the George Washington Bridge, but will be out of service for the next two weeks, according to the city.
The authority already began diverting traffic from the area by placing Jersey barriers to the strip, according to residents.
That stand will be relocated to the Fort Washington Avenue side of West 179th Street while the Port Authority completes construction under the bridge.