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Ways of making it easier to find parking along Central Street will be among the topics up for discussion at a 6th Ward meeting tonight at 7 p.m. at Three Crowns Park, 2323 McDaniel Ave.

One idea suggested by city traffic engineers is to add diagonal parking along the west side of Ewing Avenue in the block just south of Central.

Assistant Public Works Director Sat Nagar said that could add 10 more parking spaces, but would probably require making Ewing a one way street southbound from Central to Harrison streets.

At the city’s Transportation and Parking Committee and Economic Development Committee meetings Wednesday night Economic Development Coordinator Megan Jones said the city needs to do a comprehensive study of parking needs along Central — which is the city’s longest east-west street.

Among a collection of other ideas, she suggested the city could remove 11 little-used parking meters on the block west of Central Park Avenue and create new three hour parking zones there to help provide more convenient customer parking for some of the spa and salon and real estate offices in the area.

Further east on Central, near Prairie Avenue, plans are already in the works to make a variety of improvements to the streetscape this summer.

And in the stretch east of the Metra tracks one business owner complained that owners and employees of other businesses are occupying many of the metered spaces on the block — making it hard for customers to find parking.

Alderman Melissa Wynne, 3rd Ward, said the city ran into the same problem with merchants downtown. City staff contacted them several times to try to get them to park elsewhere, and then started ticketing them every time one of their cars overstayed the two-hour meter limit.

City staff pledged to do more work to meet with neighbors and refine the ideas for improvements and then return to the committees with further plans in July.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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