Amsterdam to ban taxis from Red Light District at night

Amsterdam Centrum wants to reduce traffic problems in the Red Light District by closing certain roads to taxis at night. The district proposed a 6 month experiment in which taxis will not be allowed on several streets around the Red Light District between 10:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. from Thursday night to Monday morning, Het Parool reports.

A license plate study earlier this year revealed that the Oudezijds Voorburgwal sees even more car traffic on the weekends than during the day. And a significant number of cars drive through the same street several times, also more often in the weekend. According to the Centrum District, which includes the Red Light area, this is mostly taxis driving around continuously because there's nowhere to park, causing more noise and air pollution as a result. On average, 329 taxis drive around Oudezijds Voorburgwal per hour. 

The council therefore wants to close a number of roads around the Red Light District, including part of Nieuwmarkt and the southern part of Burgwallen, to taxis at night with signs and poles. Residents and emergency services will still have access to the closed streets, but all other traffic must use the main routes. Centrum hopes that this will distribute taxis more on the larger routes, instead of them driving around in small circles as they currently do.

The proposal also acknowledges that taxis cause the least problems when they are able to pick up and drop of customers quickly, according to the newspaper. For this reason, the council wants to introduce a stop-and-go regime on Sint Antoniesbreestraat and Geldersekade during the experiment. This means that taxis can stop anywhere to pick up or drop off customers, and then quickly continue on their way. Centrum also suggests a pop-up taxi stand on Nieuwmarkt. 

If the city council agrees to this experiment, it can start in March next year, Het Parool reports.