This post on pedi-cabs at Copenhagenize made me wonder what was happening with the pedi-cab idea here in Bloomington. A couple of months ago, I read in Bloom Magazine (a wonderfully written and designed, though kind-of elitist, magazine on Bloomington) about a student at the University who wanted to start a pedi-cab company. He already had several workers signed up and was waiting on the necessary permits. Unfortunately, those never came.
The pedi-cab idea in Bloomington, like those in many other places, has stalled because--and this is my favorite part--the city doesn't know how to regulate open-air taxis.
I'm quite sad about this. I was so excited about the prospect of pedi-cabs. There are so many places downtown that I would like to go to that are just out of high-heel walking distance and not easily accessible by bicycle (as are few places). Or, rather, not easy to return home on bicycle after one too many beers.
The pedi-cab, for those not familiar with it, is like a rickshaw, but a little more upscale. These bike-taxis are used all over the world, including some cities in the United States. They are a great way to tour a city, and thus are popular with tourists. But pedicabs are also a viable transportation alternative in an age of high gas prices and concern about the environment. Regular taxis, as you may realize, leave a huge carbon footprint.
As the hip downtown area of Bloomington expands from the historical few blocks surrounding the Courthouse, easy transportation to and from restaurants, bars, shops, and galleries will grow in importance. Bicycles present a wonderful alternative to the car, but, for those who would like someone else to do the work, pedicabs seem like the next best option.
Here's hoping that the City Council will get its act together and encourage this blooming-bike-taxi business to grow!