Reading the Highland Villager #93

[A Villager stoops.]
[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.]

[Special Note: The rumors are true! After many years of trying, of wandering around Highland Park with my most photogenic smile on my face, lurking coy in front of the Villager's offices, and posing boudoir style on Ford Parkway bus stop benches, I have finally gotten onto the vaunted cover of our city's most prestigious fortnightly local news publication! If you look carefully at the image on the cover (from this month's Open Streets event), you will see my friend and fellow gadfly Andy Singer pedaling a pedicab with me, yours truly, perched in the back.

Note also how carefully the fine Highland Villager editorial staff selected the photographic angle to as to accentuate and capture ONLY my best features. (I often get complements on my right shin.) Contrast, for example, the Villager's cover shot with this far less flattering image of the same scene [on the right]. Kudos! Mark this date, the first of many future Villager appearances for your humble narrator.

Headline: Snelling-Selby redevelopment runs head-on into controversy over Ayd Mill Rd.
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: The new development with a Whole Foods slated for the corner of Snelling and Selby has made people complain especially vociferously about Ayd Mill Road again. The quasi-freeway LINK creates a lot of traffic in the Selby neighborhood. People driving cars are driving like assholes. The developer is asking for a traffic study. A city engineer wants to "improve traffic flow" at the end of the street along Selby. City council candidate and current council aide Noel Nix suggests that there needs to be general agreement about the preferred outcome before the city will finance a study of options for the street. [Seems a bit backwards to me?] Article includes long and tortured history of the [half-assed-]freeway, including historical shenanigans. [There are two options: first, they can spend a lot of money "connecting" it to something closer to I-94; second, they can remove a lane and add bike paths. The third option, which I prefer, is apparently not an option: close the road altogether and install a greenway and park. Ayd Mill is a shortcut for people coming from the suburbs and going to Minneapolis, that degrades quality of life for the residents of Saint Paul. Other cities around the country are getting rid of freeways like this, and for once, Saint Paul should do something bold and visionary and join them. -Ed.]

Headline: High-density zoning OK'd for Snelling-Selby
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: The [aforementioned] development was approved by the Planning Commission, which involved a re-zoning and a conditional use permit (CUP) for drive-thrus at the new bank. People are worried about parking, even though the new project will have lots of off-street and underground parking.

Headline: Commission asked to clearly define what constitutes art
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: [You can't make this up, folks.] The City Council is asking the Planning Commission to ponder the imponderable because a store on Grand Avenue erected some large cats. [AACK! I'm on the planning commission! Time to start reading Kant's Critique of Judgement.]

Headline: Studies conclude city could not prevent deadly landslide
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: Two investigations cleared the city of responsibilty for the landslide along Lilydale park that killed two small children in a tragedy this spring.

Headline: St. Paul amends charter rule for interim council members
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: People who apply to temporarily be on the City Council must actually live in the ward that they are hoping to represent.

Headline: Summit-U avenues co-named in honor of Anderson, Smaller
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: Concordia Avenue between Lexington and Dale will be re-named Marvin Roger Anderson Avenue [though not really, of course]. St. Anthony between Victoria and Western will be re-named Floyd G. Smaller Jr. Avenue [though not really, of course].

Headline: BZA orders front-yard parking space removed in Summit Hill
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: Someone who built a parking space in front of his home in the [lofty] Summit Hill neighborhood has to remove it now, despite the claim that it was "historic."

Headline: Mpls. discusses new design for reconstructed Minnehaha Ave.
Author: Kevin Driscoll

Short short version: The county [toyed with bicycling activists in Minneapolis by dangling the possibility of almost maybe] considered building the city's first cycletrack on Minnehaha Avenue during its reconstruction [but only considered a poor design before recently rejecting it]. Commissioner McLaughline is mentioned. [I still don't understand why county engineers in rural Medina are in charge of a designing road in Minneapolis.]

Headline: Task force settles on Victoria Park plan
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: After many years of wrangling over soccer fields, an old industrial site along West 7th will finally be turned into a park that everyone can agree on. The "proposed water feature" is "generating a mixed reaction." [I hope its not a chemical reaction.]

Headline: Property taxes may rise for some
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: [In other news...]

Headline: New signs OK'd for St. Paul College; But not the dynamic sign the college had requested
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: The technical college by the Cathedral will be allowed to erect a new sign "to make the school more visible", but not a flashing gizmo.

Headline: Leasing of Schmidt Artists Lofts is going fast
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: People are moving into the old Schmidt brewery. The rentals feature "brick walls, polished concrete floors, wood slat ceilings, quartz countertops, ... and stainless steel appliances." Article includes history of brewery.

Headline: Storm damage strains city budget for removing dead, declining trees
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: Many trees must be cut down.

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