A plan to expand and reconfigure parking at St. Athanasius School was rejected by the Evanston City Council Monday night on a tie vote.

The proposal to expand parking on a lot the school owns on Eastwood Avenue adjacent to the first alley north of Lincoln Street was rejected on a 4-4 vote.

Aldermen Judy Fiske, 1st Ward; Peter Braithwaite, 2nd Ward; Tom Suffredin, 6th Ward, and Cicely Fleming, 9th Ward, sided with neighbors who complained about school traffic in the alley.

The tie vote resulted because Alderman Robin Rue Simmons, 5th Ward, was absent from the meeting. And Mayor Steve Hagerty, who normally would break such a tie, recused himself because he has a child attending the school.

Alderman Eleanor Revelle, whose 7th Ward includes the school site, had worked out a compromise designed to minimize obstructions in the alley and reduce conflicts between pedestrians and cars in the larger school-owned lot further north on Eastwood, which serves both as parking and a playground space.

She said the proposal represented a difficult balancing act between the interests of neighbors and the school but that she favored the compromise plan.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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