City officials have responded swiftly to concerns about the need for more flexible parking arrangements, extending the standard two-hour time limits for street and lot parking in a number of areas outside the downtown district.

At the May 13 regular City Council meeting, aldermen approved staff recommendations for changing the maximum time allowed at meters and surface lots in zones throughout the City.

“These changes will  allow for four- hour limits on on-street parking in certain areas after 5 p.m. and four-hour maximum parking all day in select surface lots,” Assistant City Manager/Assistant Administrative Services Director Erika Storlie and Parking Division Manager Jill Velan said  in a memo.

Officials have been fielding complaints in recent months from business owners and others, particularly in the Main-Dempster area.

Complaints have focused on stepped-up enforcement by the City since new parking rules went into effect, and the inflexibility of the new system to accommodate parking stays of more than two hours.

“These districts do not have access to a City parking garage,” pointed out Ms. Storlie and Ms. Velan, summing up the concerns, “but still have a need for long-term customer and employee parking.”

Under staff’s proposed changes:

• Secondary meter streets, which are at least one block removed from the storefront area, will be changed from two-hour to four-hour parking, with some locations being recommended for long-term parking.

• Areas outside of downtown that are currently zoned for two-hour on-street parking will now allow for four-hour parking after 5 p.m. The change will be implemented immediately on the ParkEvanston App as well as the Pay Stations, staff said.

Staff members said in places where “deteriorating” single space meters have not been yet replaced, they are uncertain whether the vendor can make the change.

Therefore, in those locations, parkers will be able to pay for four hours by returning to the meters to pay after the initial two hours have elapsed, they said.

Parkers using the app, meanwhile, will have the ability to pay for the full four hours upfront, they said.

Ms. Velan’s last day with the City was May 10. Mark Turenne Jr. accepted the position of Parking Operations Specialist on May 14.

Bob Seidenberg is an award-winning reporter covering issues in Evanston for more than 30 years. He is a graduate of the Northwestern University Medill School of Journalism.