Urbana ready to go wireless

By Jonathan Jacobson

The Urbana City Council has been developing its wireless infrastructure for months, but began to put some final touches on the system at their meeting last night.

Working with the Champaign-Urbana Community Wireless Network, or CUWIN, the city has already spent $18,600 to build a wireless network throughout Urbana.

The council expects the network to be completed and functional by the end of April.

“CUWIN has given hundreds of hours of volunteer work,” said Councilwoman Danielle Chynoweth (Ward 2), an ardent supporter of turning Urbana into a wireless community.

Chynoweth, who drafted a resolution last night supporting public wireless in Urbana, had many ideas for the city’s wireless future.

Get The Daily Illini in your inbox!

  • Catch the latest on University of Illinois news, sports, and more. Delivered every weekday.
  • Stay up to date on all things Illini sports. Delivered every Monday.
Thank you for subscribing!

“We need to establish a portal for people to see issues of relevance,” Chynoweth said. “Urbana is well-positioned to be the cutting edge city with wireless access.”

New taxi regulations

The city council is proposing some changes that will regulate the growing taxi industry in Champaign-Urbana.

“It started as a cleanup amendment,” City Attorney Jim Gitz said, referring to problems that have been reported with taxi fares in the city.

The changes included allowing as many people in a taxi or limousine as there are seatbelts, when previously, only seven people were allowed.

One specific part of the proposal caused some problems among council. Sec. 26-84 of the proposal states that a driver is allowed to “refuse to accept a passenger that is threatening or appears dangerous and menacing.”

“I’m uncomfortable with the language,” said Councilman Brandon Bowersox (Ward 4), explaining that he was afraid this would cause discrimination.

Dealing with discrimination

The city is proposing an ordinance that would require any contractor or vendor receiving a certain amount of money to go through a process to determine if there is discrimination among employers.

One version of the proposal requires that the contractor or vendor receive at least $25,000 dollars before an evaluation can take place. Another requires $50,000.

Bowersox advocated an amendment that would change that minimum to $30,000.

“There might be a significant amount of vendors who get a chance to learn something (by this evaluation),” Bowersox said.