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Here’s a recap of our live coverage of this evening’s Evanston City Council meeting.

Meeting called to order at 8:20 p.m.

A packet with information on tonight’s agenda items is available online.

Mayor reads proclamation marking 100th year of women winning the right to vote in Illinois. (Photo above.)

Mayor announces preservation month and public service week.

Mayor says looking for different criteria for deciding who gets to be in Noyes Center. Says Evanston Children’s Choir and artist Maggie Weiss eviction notices have been withdrawn.

City staff recaps presentation from earlier this evening at the APW meeting about CTA Purple Line maintenance work this year.

City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz says plans to encourage more replacement of trees and sidewalks — can’t let the limited funds hold back from combatting issues head on. Hopes to get more private support for replacing trees destroyed by Emerald Ash Borer.

Alderman Melissa Wynne, 3rd Ward, notes that have program to get a plaque on a bench for paying for that. Seeks expansion of that for trees as well.

Joe McRae, deputy city manager, says had over 300 kids at first Mayor’s Summer Youth Employment Program event Saturday and will have have a repeat of the program next Saturday.

Community and Economic Development Director Steve Griffin leaving to be city manager in Gulf Shores, Ala. Gets plaque from City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz. 

Griffin says it’s been an honor and a privilege to serve Evanston.

Davis Street Improvement Project

Suzette Robinson, public works director, discusses alternative solutions for adding bike path to 500 block of Davis Street (between Hinman and Chicago avenues).

Says on Kinzie Street in Chicago protected bike lane increased ridership by 60 percent. Notes other cities also seeing increases in ridership … and in retail sales.

Looked at three alternatives

1. Takes out angle parking … keeps two travel lanes

2. Keeps angle parking, reduces to one travel lane.

3. Take out angle parking …but redesign to add more parking on the block and on adjacent streets…. for a net reduction of just two spaces (compared to 10 in alternative one.)

Says at meeting with businesses and residents were urged to to a trial of altenate 2 — see if the single travel-lane approach works.

Says staff was a little reluctant to do that — because of concerns about how drivers may behave. Concerned about whether there will be enough clearance for drivers pulling out of the angle parking.

Say will do the test starting May 13, and let it run for a week or two.

Says there’s a tremendous amount of double-parking for carryouts. Will look into having short-term, 20-minute parking spaces to handle that.

Alderman Melissa Wynne, 3rd Ward, asks whether will add the additional parking spaces on Hinman and Chicago regardless? Robinson says, yes.

Alderman Judy Fiske, 1st Ward, says thinks learned a lot at the community meeting. Appreciates having the additional time for that. Says happy to see the test — but thinks will probably end up doing parallel parking and two traffic lanes.

Council agrees — with nods of heads — to go ahead with the trial of the single-traffic lane approach.

Consent agenda

We’ll note any items taken off the consent agenda …. here they are…

  • Indoor Recreation special uses in I2
  • Yard waste transfer facilities in I3
  • Two ordinances regarding vacation rentals

Consent agenda approved.

Liquor license for Farmhouse Tavern … rules suspended and license given final approval tonight.

Indoor recreation … amended to not remove “commercial” as a condition to the use. Ordinance as amended is introduced.

Yard waste transfer station … held in committee awaiting more information.

Vacation rental issue held until May 13 meeting.

Call of the wards

Fiske … praises Griffin for making huge difference in economic development operation in the city.

Braithwaite … thanks Griffin for being straight-forward and a straight shooter.

Wynne … says will really miss Griffin… says he’s always been the calm person in the room when things get a little hairy.

Holmes … best of everything to Griffin. Violence prevention meeting at Christ Temple Church on Thursday night.

Tendam … says Griffin has once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to help rebuild a community devastated by hurricane and oil spill.

Grover…thanks Griffin.

Rainey … says hopes Steve’s not leaving because of all the issues on Howard Street … says it’s been wonderful working with him.

Burrus … sorry to see Griffin go.

Council votes to go into executive session.

Meeting adjourned 9:39 p.m.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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