15.1.14

Reading the Highland Villager #99

[A Villager lurks.]
[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: Union Park council pushes for solution to congestion at Ayd Mill Road's north end; Local residents hope to avoid a traffic nightmare with the opening of Vintage on Selby [TRAFFIC NIGHTMARE!!!!!!!!... I have those sometimes.]
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: There'll be a new development on the corner of Snelby, with a Whole Foods in it. Ayd Mill Road (AMR) is still there too, with traffic that just pours onto Selby Avenue. [Note: AMR is a road for people going to and from the suburbs to get to Minneapolis a bit faster.] There are going to be meetings about this situation.  Article includes the "F" LOS grades [without any context, or explanation of what this means]. Article states that the traffic studies are "paid for by the developers of the Vintage." [Q: Is that even true? Didn't the city do these studies?] Article states that "local residents are dubious" about the traffic generation claims. The local neighborhood group is requesting $350K in city money to study a solution to the traffic pattern on AMR [though apparently closing the freeway altogether (like this) isn't on the table]. The neighborhood group sees these problems are interconnected [which is certainly true]. There will be meetings. CM Thune is quoted as saying that "you can't have one district council making the decisions." [...which is true.] Article cites long long history of AMR studies, quotes Public Works engineer saying "it could take a decade to complete the traffic studies, get the financing lined up, and reconstruct the road." [What I've heard is that Public Works wants a 4-lane connection to the freeway, the Mayor and some City Council members are on the record (from a few years ago) as supporting a 2-lane "parkway" version, and there are two competing neighborhood groups, some of which are calling for a linear park, and one of which just seems to piss everyone off. Don't quote me on any of this...] CM Thao is quoted as simply saying "A decision on AMR is going to require broad community support." [Amen.]


Headline: Ford to save facade of plant's original showroom; Developer will be invited to incorporate facade in memorial to Ford plant's 85-year history in St. Paul
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: The Ford plan closed, but they kept the most beautiful part of the [huge] facility. An architectural historian wanted to save the whole showroom, but that didn't happen. Nobody knows who is going to develop the site, but people hope they will use the saved facade. Article includes some details about the history and architecture, and a quote from a Ford spokesperson about the "decision." Article includes photos. Debris is being removed. There will be environmental cleanup, but nobody knows how much. Two men were arrested for stealing metal from the site.


Headline: 7th Street favored for city's first streetcar line; But construction and operating costs threaten to derail St. Paul's dream of a streetcar network [A bit presumptuous here...]
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: The city completed a $250K "streetcar feasibility study" and recommends West and East 7th Streets as its first line. The proposed line is 4.1 miles and runs from Randolph to Arcade. There will be public hearings. [Joe Soucheray is beside himself.] Article includes the rough cost estimates. Article includes quotes from a few skeptical planning commissioners. Article includes some details about the plan's process, and comments about the other potential lines. Article includes a map of the proposed network. [Wow, the Villager only captures the skeptical comments from the discussion. Streetcars are controversial, but it seems like one-sided reporting, IMO.]


Headline: Employment on the line; Study finds job connections lacking on University
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: [They reused the photo of me riding in a pedicab for this piece! My right knee is famous again!] The county completed a study about economic development and job availability along University recently. Not enough is being done to cultivate jobs along the LRT line, which is one of the key ideas to providing good transit access for people (so the y don't need a car). Article quotes one county commissioner saying that "more needs to be done to entice employers." Said commissioner talks a lot about call centers. [Ugh. I temped at one of those once. Horrible work.]  The study recommends putting more "job resource information" along the line, and to "locate more job centers in the central cities." [Downtown!]


Headline: Proposal for the Vintage ripens; Commission OKs site plan for Snelling-Selby development ["Ripens"? That's kind of a loaded verb... Maybe the Villager is ripening, too?]
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: The site plan for the Vintage on Snelby [see above] was approved. Article includes a lot of detail about the development. The project will be complete in 2016. Article includes  information about the size of the parking lots (265 underground spaces, and 150 surface spaces). ARticle includes detail about the truck loading dock [which involves a complicated dance with planters and the bank parking lot]. Article includes discussion of the bumpout. [Public Works wanted to remove the ped bumpout and add a turn lane, but that was stripped out in the Zoning Committee vote. Thankfully...] 


Headline: County holds the line on tax levy; Biennial budget forecasts no property tax increases in either 2014 or 2015
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: Your county taxes probably won't go up.


Headline: Commission backs rezoning for The Waters of Highland; Council vote, permit still needed for four-story senior building
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: A new assisted living building was approved for Snelling Avenue. there was a debate about whether the building was "mixed use," and it was decided that it wasn't.


Headline: St. Paul to begin single-sort pickup, other recycling changes in 2014
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: You can just put all your recycling in one bin now.


Headline: RAS receives entertainment license, but with conditions
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: A lounge on West 7th Street can have music and dancing, but only if they have video cameras.


Headline: Federation awarded $100,000 grant for brewery renovation
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: The neighborhood group got money for the Schmidt brewery project.



2 comments:

Colin said...

The Vintage traffic study was required by the city but paid for by Ryan Companies and conducted by...Westwind? Westwood? Something like that.

Nate said...

Villager is 100% one-sided. It's very hard for me to read sometimes. On more than a handful of issues, neighbors are overwhelming cool(the assisted living place on Snelling, for example). But, I read the Villager and get the feeling that there was a controversy when none really existed. As if all hell will break loose because employees could possibly smoke outside by houses (real issue, apparently). I think it's all Jane McClure