7.11.05

stp: Randy Kelly, why still talking?

I was listening to the MPR mayoral debate today, and it's like looking at a home movie of someone who died tragically a little while ago. Kelly is so over, it's almost painful. How can he not now turn into a bitter, bitter man?

Anyway, I identified two urban planning-related differences between the candidates. First, the age old problem of Ayd Mill Road. Kelly said he's definately connect the "transit corridor" to I-94 immediately, if someone gave him the money to do it.

Coleman referred back to some plan that was around when they re-connected the South side of the road to I-35 back in '02. Apparently, there were plans to "partially connect" the road to 94, though I think that's what Coleman is talking about has already happened. I.e., it's the Selby Ave bumpout thingy, what which keeps cars from going superfast around Snelling and Selby Avenues.

Of course, traffic there is horrible, but it's a much better situation than having horrid bumper-to-bumper all the way up and down Lexington Avenue. But plus, Coleman said something about development and bike paths along Ayd Mill which, while highly unlikely, would be great.

Second, the two candidates stated their differences on the Snelling Ave bus depot site (the Northeast corner of I-94 and Snelling, behind Big Top Liquors), which has lain fallow for years and years now.

The issue is that some developer representing Best Buy and/or Loews has offered a "trade" to get his hands on the site. The plan would be more big box for the area, on top of the Target, Wal-Mart, Cub, and Raindow.

Gary Eichten asked the two about this, and Kelly said, "Well, gee, Gary. That's a great idea," and proceeded to say what a good place for a big box was Snelling and I94.

He's right, but thankfully Coleman disagreed anyway. Coleman was ultimately equivocal, but did allude to the (deus ex machina) University light rail train, and talked about planning for the future. He said pedestrians will want that corner to be a walkable place, and perhaps big boxes aren't really the answer.

Good for you, Chris Coleman. Now, if only you can tell that to CVS.

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