Reading the Highland Villager #87

[The Villager holds up some patio furniture.]
[Basically the problem is that the best source of Saint Paul streets & sidewalks news is the Highland Villager, a very fine and historical newspaper. This wouldn't be a problem, except that its not available online. You basically have to live in or frequent Saint Paul to read it. That's why I'm reading the Highland Villager so that you don't have to. Until this newspaper goes online, sidewalk information must be set free.]  

Headline: Demolition begins two-year cleanup of old Ford Plant; Extent of pollution will not be known until buildings are gone
Reporter: Jane McClure

Short short version: Men in large cranes and trucks are tearing down the old truck factory. They had a ceremony and put up a fence. Trucks are beeping when they back up according to CM Tolbert. The soil underneath may or may not be clean, but probably not. They might save some of the bas relief sculpture and some lanterns.

Headline: CIB Committee makes final funding picks; Highland streetscape project moves up list, but not far enough
Reporter: Jane McClure

Short short version: The Capital Improvement Budget (CIB) committee finally decided where to suggest that city invest its money. There were some last minute changes after a public meeting. Things that now make the cut: $100K for a study to fix West 7th Street intersections for pedestrians. Things that don't: $1M for new sidewalks in Highland Park, renovating Dickerman Park at Fairview and Aldine. Best quote comes from a committee member on the Highland sidewalks: "I'm thinking that (Highland Village) is a pretty wealthy area and that it could happen on its own."

Headline: Snelling may get rapid bus service
Reporter: Jane McClure

Short short version: MN-DOT is having open houses to discuss its plan for a "rapid bus" running from the 46th Street LRT, through Highland Park, and to Rosedale. The bus would not have dedicated lanes, but would have widely spaced stops, high frequency, and special platforms with pre-payment. The plan seems to depend on passing transit funding through the state legislature, something that didn't happen this time. [Just a thought, but shouldn't all buses be "rapid"? What's the alternative, "slow-ass buses"?]

Headline: Old Unisys site near Shepard-Davern eyed for redevelopment
Reporter: Jane McClure

Short short version: Someone's about to maybe buy a vacant office building on the far end of West 7th Street to maybe build apartments on the site. It's the same people who re-developed the old buildings near University and Raymond into condos and lofts. 

Headline: More fully restored; Work will bring Landmark Center even closer to its 1902 appearance
Reporter: Jane McClure

Short short version: The super old post office / city hall on Rice Park [that's now used mostly as a sculpture of a building] will be get some new roofing, gutters, and mortar.  [OK maybe that's not fair. There's also some offices I think, a place to store old pianos, a tiny postal museum, and occasional other events like the 1997 Henry Sibley Senior Prom.] Article includes some of the court and mobster history of the building, including references to Ma Barker and Creepy Karpis.

Headline: Wild Onion maybe finally be allowed patio liquor service [also, pigs seen flying down Grand Avenue, weaving back and forth]
Reporter: Jane McClure

Short short version: [After many years of trying] A [semi-horrible] bar / nightclub on Grand Avenue may finally get a license to serve booze on its patio, thanks to successful negotiations with the local neighborhood groups and CM Thune involving the erection of a "16-foot wall" between the patio and anyone living nearby. [Is that tall enough? "Nature will find a way."] Some people aren't happy because of noise and "rowdiness." Article includes anecdote about "an incident in which a large ceramic pot was through through a store window."

Headline: Public sees latest plans to make Marshall Ave. more user-friendly; Buffered bike lanes, sharrows and limited medians among ideas to complete the street [I believe this is the first time that "complete the street" has appeared in the Highland Villager without air quotes.]
Reporter: Jane McClure

Short short version: [Wait never mind. The first sentence continues the "complete street" air quote style guide precedent.] Article on a meeting about redesigning Marshall between Snelling and the cathedral. Article claims that traffic calming on Selby has pushed bicyclists and other traffic over to Marshall [That doesn't seem true to me? There seem to be lots of cyclists on Selby. Are there actual traffic counts there?] The current tentative plan is to have buffered bike lanes between Snelling and Victoria, a median between Snelling and Hamline, and a bike box at Hamline. [How big a buffer are we talking here? I must look this up.] Sidewalks would be added along that stretch, and the center turn lane would be removed between Griggs and Lexington. East of Victoria would have sharrows and some traffic calming / bicycle boulevard features, plus a contra-flow lane for the one-way portion of the street. [Sounds too good to be true. Stay tuned, Saint Paul.]

Headline: City crews offer to remove tree debris left on curb
Reporter: Jane McClure

Short short version: St Paul will come pick up your branches and stuff if you call them.

Headline: City Council approves $60M capital improvement wish list
Reporter: Jane McClure

Short short version: The city agreed about what to ask the state to pay for, even though the requests didn't receive much public review. Apparently, $6M to renovate the Palace Theater [on 7th Place, i.e. the world's shortest "pedestrian mall"] was added by the mayor at the last minute, much to the annoyance of CM Lantry [and the others too, I'm sure].

Headline: Rehabilitation of Selby-Dale Co-op given city's assistance
Reporter: Jane McClure

Short short version: The city is loaning $250K to the affordable housing project on Selby and Dale to fix it up, on top of an earlier $600K loan from 20 years ago.

Headline: Mayor Chris Coleman solicits budget ideas from citizens
Reporter: Jane McClure

Short short version: The mayor had meetings with the public. You can tweet him if you want.

Headline: Snelling-Selby firms seek new shared parking
Reporter: Jane McClure

Short short version: Businesses on the corner of Snelling and Selby want to figure out what to do about parking because the current publicly accessible bank lot is being developed.

Headline: City amends opt-out policy for street paving projects
Reporter: Jane McClure

Short short version: Neighbors who don't want their streets paved will have to petition the city on a project-level scale instead of a block-by-block scale. [This seems intended to put a whole stop to the "don't pave my street" thing.]

Headline: Final EIS on business impacts in Central Corridor is released
Reporter: Jane McClure

Short short version: Because the first one didn't account for impacts to small and minority-owned businesses and was thrown out in a lawsuit, a new and improved 239-page report on the impact of the LRT is available to you now. [Just in time for none of it to matter.]

Headline: Building limits poised for adoption on west Grand
Reporter: Jane McClure

Short short version: The City Council is likely to pass the changes to zoning for the part of Grand Avenue near the University of St Thomas [aforementioned here]. The developer who is building the controversial 5-story building [that triggered this whole situation] is suing the city because they passed a development moratorium on the same day that he filed plans for a second 5-story student-oriented building on Grand in the same area. Article suggest that city staff claim they knew nothing about plans for a second building. [Stay tuned to this one, folks. This looks like another Highland Villager urban doozy, replete with shenanigans.] Article includes quote from neighbor expressing "concerns about housing density in the area, especially as it relates to spillover parking."

Headline:  [This one buried deep within the Villager, between the historic photo of 1952 Union Depot redcap porters and the puff piece on Ristorante Luci] New TIF districts will help finance affordable housing on University
Reporter: Jane McClure

Short short version: Working with Project for Pride in Living (PPL), the City Council approved tax-increment financing (TIF) districts and $9M in bonding for about 100 units of affordable housing at University and Hamline and University and Syndicate. CM Tolbert voted against it because he doesn't like using TIF.

Headline: Senior housing planned for Bradshaw spot in Highland
Reporter: Jane McClure

Short short version: A funeral home on the south end of Snelling will become 75 units filled with old and/or forgetful people. It will have underground parking [praise the lord!].

Headline: Under New Owners: Renovation plans unveiled for Highlands on Graham, former St. Mary's Home
Reporter: Carolyn Will

Short short version: Someone bought an old old folks home from someone else and is fixing it up. Eight people moved in.


Nate said...

"$100K for a study to fix West 7th Street intersections for pedestrians"

I don't like that St. Paul has such little confidence in itself that they can't identify what is a good and what is a bad crosswalk or calming device. I mean, for real?

Anonymous said...

Why do old and/or forgetful people need enough parking that it warrants the cost of underground parking?

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