Reading the Highland Villager #111

[Send photos of "the Villager inaction" to blindeke@gmail.com]
[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: Snelling Ave. bus rapid transit gets green light; Debate includes ironing out stop near dry cleaner [GROAN ALERT; most egregious headline pun of 2014 right here.]
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: [Note: when the article says "gets the green light," I'm gonna go out on a limb and assume they don't mean literally giving green signal priority to transit. That would be crazy in a town like Saint Paul.] Snelling Avenue is getting the first "aBRT" [i.e. quasi-BRT] bus line in the Twin Cities. Some people are upset. In particular, Macalester College who owns the bookstore [where Garrison Keillor lives] was upset, so Metro Transit moved the stop across the street to the dry cleaner. Then the dry cleaner got upset about losing the curb cut on one of his driveways. [BRT hot potato.]

Headline: Council seeks detailed study of feasibility of streetcars; Dream of streetcars won't die despite high cost projections
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: The City Council passed a resolution to keep studying streetcars. They also asked the Met Council to postpone aBRT plans for West 7th Street until a county study of the corridor is completed. [Should be soon, I hope.] Article includes recap of history of streetcar and West 7th transit debates, which are extensive. Best quote is from CM Bostrom: "This city runs on automobiles. That's just fact." [Well then, I better buy a car. That's gonna take a lot of postcards. Thanks in advance.]

Headline: New PED Director is an old hand at developing the local economy
Author: Kevin Driscoll

Short short version: The city's Planning and Economic Development (PED) Department hired a new head, who used to work for the Central Corridor Funders Collaborative and SPARC, a non-profit development agency on Rice Street [I used to live mere blocks from there]. Article includes lots of biographical details. Article includes lots of glowing quotes from St Paul VIPs. Catchy term: "macro-micro approach."

Headline: St. Paul considers measures to address residential teardowns
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: The city might restrict teardowns in Highland Park and Mac-Groveland, but not have a moratorium.

Headline: Proposals sought for downtown gateway
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: The vacant surface parking lot at Kellogg and West 7th might get developed. Neighbors don't want a skyway there because it would block views of downtown. [Proof that there is a god!]

Headline: City proceeds with Marshall median without Mac match
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: The city is building a [smaller somewhat more half-assed than originally proposed] pedestrian median on Marshall Avenue by the ice cream store that will still allow cars to turn into the liquor store even though some of the non-public money to pay for it disappeared.

Headline: Federation favors brewery move to West 7th tire store
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: An abandoned tire store [near my house] will become a brewpub. [More proof. All praise the unmoved mover!]

Headline: St. Paul transfers deed for site of Rondo Community Center
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: The city gave the site of a former VFW to a local group to turn it into a community center.

Headline: Work begins at Fort Snelling on housing for homeless vets
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: Old historic buildings that used to house soldiers will again house old soldiers. [Frankly, this is kind of amazing. I'm getting real good vibes from this Villager, as if something or someone is trying to send me a sign.]

Headline: Palace Rec project may be raided again; City considers shifting another $91,000 to help finish the Jefferson and Griggs bike boulevards
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: Bids for bike boulevards are higher than expected and the city is taking money from other projects to finish them. The Council Members whose districts affected seem OK with it because they've been promised that the rec center renovation will "move forward." The rec center funding had been cut previously to pay for fancy new sidewalks in Highland. [But let's just blame bikes and not mention "the Village."] The Capital Improvement Budget (CIB) committee voted against the shift and seems upset.

Headline: Budget cuts or tax increases? Mayor solicits public's help in closing $9.6 million gap
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: The city has a budget deficit. Article includes quote from CM Lantry: "We have a gap every year, caused largely by inflation and salary increases."

Headline: Council and Coleman at odds over the extent of repairs for city streets
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: The mayor wants to "mill and overlay" [i.e. repave] a dozen streets. The City Council wants to reconstruct them. [All I care about if if we reconstruct them, we do so with the city's new street design guide in mind, and explore traffic calming and/or road diets.] Article includes quote from city engineer: "the streets proposed for mill and overlay work are not in line for reconstruction anytime soon." [Seems like we're messing with the engineers, who know exactly which streets are in the worst condition?] Much of the money used for the potential reconstruction would come from a fund to repair stairways and for "bike, pedestrian and traffic safety programs", which the CIB committee is upset about.

Headline: Transit-oriented transformation planned for Midway Center
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: The strip mall at Snelling and University might become a "large-scale transit oriented development," provided they can find $40 million for parking ramps. [This story brought to you by The Onion.]

Headline: HRA approves another $750K for former Jamestown Homes in Summit-U
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: The city is financing a renovation for 73 units of affordable housing on Centrral Avenue.

Headline: Highland Village should have new improved streetscape by years' end
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: The shops at Ford and Cleveland will get fancy new sidewalks soon. [Thanks to taking money from the aforementioned rec center?] They seem like they'll be nice. Some people are upset about the assessments.

Headline: Fort Snelling State Park reopens as cleanup continues from June flood
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: The river was high.

Headline: City clears way for new Davern sidewalk
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: A street where a lot of kids almost get hit by cars because it doesn't have a sidewalk will have a sidewalk soon, despite the protestations of the historic preservation commission (HPC). The city will try to avoid cutting down trees. [A good policy.]

Headline: Council turns down Getten Credit's appeal
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: A strange quasi-bank will not be allowed to relocate into a residential neighborhood even though "many people know and like the Getten family." [Strange, I'd always assumed the name was a weird pun, like "Yo, I'm getten some credit right here."]

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