Reading the Highland Villager #98

[A Villager embraces walkability on Selby Avenue.]

[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. Until this newspaper goes online, sidewalk information must be set free.]

Headline: Site plan for 5-story building at Snelling and Selby gets final hearing on Dec. 12; Traffic study says project will not make congestion any worse than it is
Author: Jane Mcclure

Short short version: The plan for the new Whole Foods + apartments is being reviewed by the Planning Commission. The city did a study cited in some depth here, about LOS [= "level of service" for cars] at this corner. [The study did not think about changes to Ayd Mill Road.] Highlight is that traffic is minimally impacted by the development, which will generate less than 100 new trips per day more than the current land uses. [Thus won't impact traffic very much, particularly considering that Selby at that corner sees about 14,000 cars per day as of 2008.  Part of the reason the new trips are so low is that much of the projected Whole Foods traffic will be on foot.] Article includes quotes from neighbor, "That just doesn't seem like a lot of trips." Article includes description of all the players in the project. [My biggest gripe, the city staff is recommending removing the pedestrian bumpout at the corner with the Whole Foods entrance, and expanding the road for a large right-turn lane. In light of all the projected pedestrian traffic and the recent focus on pedestrian safety in the city, this seems entirely backward! The projected traffic increase does not justify expanding the road. The second gripe is that the parking lot is larger than the required minimum, again mysterious given the TOD focus of the project.] There's a hearing on this in the Planning Commission zoning committee [tomorrow] 12/12.

Headline: Center for torture victims consolidating in St. Paul; Dayton Ave. headquarters is light for those subjected to humanity's darkest side
Author: Jane Mcclure

Short short version: Two buildings in St Paul for people who've been are expanding. [Even though that's good, that sucks. It'd be nice if this organization didn't need to exist.]

Headline: Streetcar study picks 7th Street as most promising first route; Four-mile $246 million line is estimated to cost $8M per year to operate
Author: Jane Mcclure

Short short version: The city's streetcar feasibility study is complete, and West and East 7th Street was selected as the first "starter line" for city's proposed streetcar network. The Grand Avenue route suggestion generated a lot of opposition. Article includes cost details [even though these are very rough estimates at this point]. The study does not include a downtown route.

Headline: Neighbors turn out in droves to discuss Snelling-Selby project
Author: Jane Mcclure

Short short version: 100 people came to a meeting about the new development on Snelby, organized by a grassroots community group trying to promote walkable transit-oriented neighborhoods.  Article includes details about the parking lots. Best quote refers to Ayd Mill Road as "the elephant in the room."

Headline: Support builds for low-profile design of Lowertown ballpark; Many are still unhappy about the lack of public involvement in planning
Author: Frank Jossi

Short short version: A rough Saints stadium design was released at an event in Lowertown. The facade material is not yet clear. The playing field will be sunken.  Article includes quotes from people who like it, and people who don't. Best quote is from baseball writer: "There's no place for luxury boxes in a municipal ballpark."

Headline: County fine-tunes design for reconstructing Ford Parkway
Author: Jane Mcclure

Short short version: The county is reconstruction Ford Parkway west of Snelling. The preferred design will have one lane of traffic, bike lanes, parking, and a median.

Headline: Council imposes sanctions on two stores for code violations
Author: Jane Mcclure

Short short version: A grocery store on University is having its tobacco license revoked for selling "loosies." [Apparently these are single cigarettes.] A liquor store on Cleveland was fined for selling to underage people.

Headline: Decision still out on removing, repairing Summit Hill duplex
Author: Jane Mcclure

Short short version: A duplex on Goodrich is being renovated, but it's going slowly.

Headline: Mayor announces completion of wider Lowertown sidewalk
Author: Jane Mcclure

Short short version: The 6th Street sidewalk expansion is done, finally.

Headline: Hiawatha Ave. landscaping open houses set in December
Author: Jane Mcclure

Short short version: The county [Hennepin] is trying to figure out how to pay for landscaping along Hiawatha.

Headline: Village sign regs would ban most new dynamic displays
Author: Jane Mcclure

Short short version: New rules for signs in Highland "Village" will not allow electronic signs. The previous regulations were very old.

Headline: Plans for new carriage house unhinged; Second-floor space above garage may not be turned into mother-in-law apt.
Author: Jane Mcclure

Short short version: Nobody will be allowed to live in the carriage house on Lincoln Avenue after all because of "neighborhood concerns about density and traffic and parking demand."

Headline: St. Paul gardeners, urban farmers get new rules for growing season
Author: Jane Mcclure

Short short version: There are new regulations for community gardens and farmers' markets which loosen regulations around conditional use permits.

Headline: Rezoning sought for four-story senior living facility in Highland
Author: Jane Mcclure

Short short version: An old-folks home will likely be built on Snelling in an old funeral home.

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