22.1.14

Twin City Neon #8

[Downtown, Saint Paul.]


[Northeast, Minneapolis.]


[Northeast, Minneapolis.]


[South Minneapolis.]


[Highland, Saint Paul.]


[Lake Street?]


[Two Harbors.]


[Downtown, Duluth.]


[Downtown, Duluth.]

16.1.14

Reading the Highland Villager Op-Ed Extra #5

The Vintage: Paving the way to Ayd Mill Park

by Mike Madden

Neighborhoods First appreciates the attention that the Vintage/Whole Foods Market project has brought to the congested traffic conditions at the intersection of Selby and Snelling avenues and the unfinished business of Ayd Mill Road. yet, of the six potions that have been considered for reconstructing or replacing Ayd Mill Road, it is the linear park that best complements The Vintage and delivers the greatest benefit to the people of St. Paul.

With the adoption of the Central corridor Development Strategy in 2007, it seemed the city of St. Paul had turned a corner in understanding the relationship between transportation and land use and the need to reduce reliance on the automobile as a strategy for growth and environmental protection. The transportation infrastruucture supporting The Vintage, nominally a transit-oriented development, is almost entirely automobile-oriented, with the proposed $50 million extension of Ayd Mill Road as Exhibit A.

The St. Paul Department of Public Works has also recommended converting a portion of the Selby Avenue sidewalk to a right-turn lane and extending the left-turn lane on southbound Snelling Avenue north to Dayton Avenue. This is the sort of 1950s transportation planning that hollowed out our cities. It beckons automobiles and discourages walking, biking, and transit use.

At one-fifth the cost, replacing Ayd Mill Road with a linear park would deliver the same relief from traffic congestion on Selby as would connecting Ayd Mill Road to I-94. The linear park also provides green space and reduces emissions.

There are several transit plans on the table that would complement The Vintage. Snelling Avenue bus rapid transit is one. The Central Corridor EIS also envisioned new bus routes on Fairview and Hamline avenues. Together with a Route 21 that no longer detours to Midway Center, these transit improvements would move us closer to a transit grid.

A Canadian Pacific Rail alingment of commuter rail thorugh Merriam Park is a project found in the region's 2020 Transitway Plan. It would connect the Red Rock and North Star commuter rail lines, and with its proposed station at Snelling and Marshall, it would be of obvious benefit to The Vintage and to the people of St. Paul

Neighborhoods First commends Ryan Companies and Whole Foods for providing ample and protected bicycle parking, but once again we see that a good redevelopment project is not being supported with the proper infrastructure. Snelling Avenue is not bikeable, and Selby is not much better.

The extension of the Midtown Greenway bike trail is widely recognized as the most important piece of bicycle infrastructure yet to be built in St. Paul. It would run along the northern edge of the Snelling-Selby development. The city of St. Paul's past efforts to negotiate with CP Rail for biek trail right-of-way have been thwarted; however, with the help of the federal givernment, this project could be realized.

A four-lane extension of Ayd Mill Road to the I-94 frontage roads would do more harm than good. It would take land from Concordia Universituy and displace several businesses, costing St. Paul jobs and tax revenue and offering little if any opportunity for redevelopment. It would result in measuable increases in traffic on St. Clair, Grand and Marshall avenues, and a 130 percent increase in traffic on the residential portion of Concordia Avenue. It would remove the Pascal Street bridge over I-94, and among the alternatives for Ayd Mill Roa,d it would result in the highest level of emissions.

Neighborhoods First recognizes that the linear park would result in traffic increases on Lexington Parkway. That is regrettable. But as we debate the best use for the Ayd Mill Road corridor, let's understand the pros and cons of every alterantive and bear in mind that we can't build our way out of congestion.

Mike Madden, a resident of Merriam Park, is a co-founder of the local advocacy group Neighborhoods First.

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.



3.1.14

*** Sidewalk Weekend! ***

Sidewalk Rating: On the Up and Up
"All along the narrow cluttered streets of the river flats this spring, you'll see vacant houses. That robins egg blue house with the red and yellow window sashes-- you can pick it out from the street car window as you cross the Washington avenue bridge-- is empty now. The windows that used to look so gay with their flower plants stare at you lonesomely as you pass. Empty, too, is the snug little brown house with the wide porch and green window sashes, down where the waters edge used to be. So is the gray cabin with the sky-blue door that S. Chatwood Burton, the artist from the university, used for his studio. The salmon pink house with the green window sashes is not going to get a new coat of paint this year. There's a for sale sign on the quaint dark little grocery store, and a spirit of moving is in the air."
-Minneapolis Tribune march 1924 quoted in "The Bohemian Flats"


["Rosie's Christmas Window" on West 7th Street, Saint Paul.]




*** CLICK ON IMAGES FOR LINKS ***

http://kottke.org/13/12/traffic-organized-by-color


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https://twitter.com/organizedthings/status/409399639905804288


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http://www.bostonglobe.com/ideas/2013/12/15/conservatives-new-enemy-bikes/NoLMjnocHg28jZ4hw3F4oI/story.html?s_campaign=sm_tw


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https://twitter.com/copenhagenize/status/412621826829717505/photo/1



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http://www.urbanophile.com/2013/12/18/urban-skiing-in-detroit/


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https://twitter.com/RyanAmirault/status/414054412202827776/photo/1


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http://www.startribune.com/local/236884311.html


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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twentysix_Gasoline_Stations



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https://twitter.com/ProfBrianCox/status/414691023781363712



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https://twitter.com/GlobalEcoGuy/status/413310746626248705/photo/1


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http://www.sca.org/geography/


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http://www.theatlanticcities.com/design/2013/12/quest-create-perfect-map/7989/


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http://kottke.org/13/12/wind-map-of-the-earth


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https://twitter.com/jr_carpenter/status/414692819983675392


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https://twitter.com/studioloraine/status/414517467067584512


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http://www.governing.com/gov-data/transportation-infrastructure/walk-to-work-cities-map.html


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http://www.theatlanticcities.com/jobs-and-economy/2013/12/staggering-concentrated-wealth-americas-northeast-corridor/7872/


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http://www.minnpost.com/community-sketchbook/2013/12/counting-homeless-challenging-especially-minnesota


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http://www.theatlanticcities.com/housing/2013/12/where-renters-live/7904/


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http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/12/20/rich-people-cities_n_4467155.html?fb_action_ids=10152176874527448&fb_action_types=og.recommends&fb_source=other_multiline&action_object_map=%5B440197519436999%5D&action_type_map=%5B%22og.recommends%22%5D&action_ref_map=%5B%5D



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http://north-by-northside.blogspot.com/2013/12/hong-kong-international-building-sold.html

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http://www.oregonlive.com/portland/index.ssf/2013/12/east_portlands_housing_explosi.html



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http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showthread.php?t=1395454


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http://www.meganix.net/pavement/2013/12/09/greetings-3/


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http://www.vice.com/read/i-spent-a-day-exploring-gwyneth-paltrows-los-angeles


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http://www.theatlanticcities.com/arts-and-lifestyle/2013/12/minneapolis-real-estate-agents-are-greatly-amused-defacing-their-ads/7935/


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http://www.wired.com/rawfile/2013/12/london-murder/?cid=co15553324#slideid-111701


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https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10202197379553556&set=a.10200337537498667.2191396.1161444314&type=1&theater


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https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10152059939303631&set=a.10150718008028631.419875.651928630&type=1&theater



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http://vanishingnewyork.blogspot.com/2013/12/the-war-on-wieners.html


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http://it-used-to-be-a-garage.tumblr.com/



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http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/dec/08/david-simon-capitalism-marx-two-americas-wire


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http://kottke.org/13/12/12-oclock-boys


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http://www.retronaut.com/2013/12/chinatown-vancouver/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=chinatown-vancouver&utm_reader=feedly


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http://www.retronaut.com/2013/12/vintage-street-photographs/



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http://www.retronaut.com/2013/12/pictures-of-vintage-new-york-in-colour-2/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=pictures-of-vintage-new-york-in-colour-2&utm_reader=feedly


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http://tsutpen.blogspot.com/2013/12/watts-32.html


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http://bikeyface.com/2013/12/12/traffic-talk/


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https://twitter.com/transitized/status/414172587959140354



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http://vanishingnewyork.blogspot.com/2013/12/wartellas-strip-show_17.html


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http://stuffaboutminneapolis.tumblr.com/post/69920577858/a-celebration-of-biking-in-minneapolis-by-melanie


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http://laughingsquid.com/wonder-bread-woman-an-illustrated-mashup-of-wonder-woman-and-wonder-bread/

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http://www.modernluxury.com/san-francisco/story/build-your-own-ny-times-oped-bemoaning-san-francisco



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http://www.urbanophile.com/2013/12/15/why-state-legislatures-are-hostile-to-big-cities/



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http://www.cycle-helmets.com/zealand_helmets.html


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http://dc.streetsblog.org/2013/12/17/study-transpo-agencies-are-terrible-at-predicting-traffic-levels/



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http://daily.sightline.org/2013/12/16/the-entire-ipcc-report-in-19-illustrated-haiku/


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http://www.theatlanticcities.com/design/2013/12/-and-after-guide-safer-streets/7867/


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http://9-eyes.com/



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http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2013/08/29/216802749/have-your-picture-taken-with-hong-kongs-smog-free-skyline


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https://twitter.com/JeffLast/status/412669925291876352/photo/1




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http://urbansketchers-twincities.blogspot.com/2013/12/sketching-at-saint-paul-central-library.html


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https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10152068253499019&set=a.84641124018.78372.5727164018&type=1&theater


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http://www.pinterest.com/pin/140878294567716094/