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updated: 12/4/2013 1:50 PM

Naperville removes 2 downtown parking spots to ease congestion

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While many in Naperville say the downtown area needs additional parking, city council members voted Tuesday night to remove two spaces on Washington Street south of Benton Avenue.

Several council members said the spaces on the west side of Washington are problematic because they force all southbound traffic to merge into one lane north of Van Buren Avenue, which causes congestion.

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The same two parking spots, which are near the post office and Catch 35, were considered for removal in 2005.

At the time, there was not enough support among merchants and council members to get rid of the spots. But council member David Wentz, who renewed discussion of removing them in October, said he has 226 reasons he's in favor of permanently eliminating them.

"There are 226 more parking spaces now than when this was presented and failed," Wentz said.

He said removing the spots to ease traffic traveling south into downtown Naperville also helps the city address the No. 1 concern residents cite on community surveys, which is congestion, especially on north/south thoroughfares.

Council member Paul Hinterlong, who lives in the neighborhood west of downtown, said he's noticed fewer backups on Benton in the neighborhood since the spots temporarily were removed in October.

The council instructed construction crews working on a 1.3-mile stretch of Washington through the downtown not to paint the spots back on, and after Tuesday's vote, they will not be added again.

"I haven't seen any problems since we removed these spots," Hinterlong said.

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