Reading the Highland Villager #133

[Villagers wait for customers to park on Cleveland 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: Council postpones vote on Cleveland Avenue bike lane; Tolbert pushes for a plan that preserves business parking
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: [In yet another new chapter in the Russian novel that is building bike infrastructure in Highland] an article on the recent City Council hearing about bike lanes through the heart of Highland Village [which I blogged about here rather passionately just the other day]. After a packed public hearing, the Council voted to delay action on deciding about the issue, pending less hostile discussions between parties down the road [sic]. Article includes [fairly well balanced] quotes from both the bicycle enthusiasts and the parking enthusiasts [By the way, "parking enthusiasts" is a strange concept; the Villager typically uses the "concerned residents" euphemism.] Quote from local bicyclist: "It upsets me that Chris Tolbert is willing to make this street more dangerous." Quote from local driver [and University of Saint Thomas spokesperson???]: "I don't know how you get trucks and buses and bikes down Cleveland at the same time." [Does St Thomas have a math department? History professors? Experts in logic? I'm sure they can figure that one out. Particularly given how much energy Saint Thomas spends trying to minimize neighborhood impacts from their campus, of which parked cars are second only to drunken sophomoric bros, you'd think they'd be more understanding when it comes to accommodating and encouraging bicycling.]

Headline: Views sought on modes of transit, viable routes for River Corridor
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: Someone is going to build something non-car-oriented along the West 7th / Riverview corridor, likely soon-ish, but nobody knows what. Feel free to comment. Probably. Article includes useless map. Commuter rail has been ruled out because there is no railroad there. [Good decision!]

Headline: Randolph shop is struggling with disruptions of street work; Loyal customers still make the trek to J&S Bean, but drive-by business is down
Author: Boraan Abdulkarim [A new Villager writer? Seemingly non-white? Huzzah!]

Short short version: The road in front of the coffee shop is torn up for construction and people can't drive their cars there. People still walk there though. Best quote: "We've seen people walk across Randolph and lose their shoes in the mud." [One lesson of all this might be that catering to customers on foot or bike is a good way to increase customer loyalty.]

Headline: Downtown bike loop gaining ground; New St. Peter Street alignment is proving to be more popular
Author: Kevin Driscoll

Short short version: The city is planning (and has already funded part of) a [so-called] "bike loop" that will run through downtown Saint Paul and connect [disconnected] bike routes that all stop short. Saint Peter is the new Wabasha [which was derailed by trolls]. Quote from consultant: "St. Peter's traffic pattern is much quieter, and therefore safer and more comfortable than Wabasha's." [Well, OK.] Article includes quote from Chamber of Commerce spokesperson about how people should [relax about] study parking and test things out before building permanent routes. [I'm of mixed feeling on this topic: see "limits of pop-up urbanism." Temporary tests are great unless you just build something half-assed that pisses everyone off and pleases nobody.] Article quotes three business owners from St. Peter Street, [that in a minor miracle] none of whom say anything particularly ridiculous. [Maybe Kevin Driscoll asks questions differently than other Villager reporters?]

Headline: St. Paul restaurants, residents seek easing of liquor restrictions
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: Restaurants would like to loosen the "food-to-alcohol" ratios which restrict them. Quote from owner of restaurant: "I would love to able to serve a real Bloody Mary at the Highland Grill." [First they come for our parking spaces, then they come for or liquor restrcitions. Next thing you know, Highland Village is Frank Miller's Hell's Kitchen.] Saint Paul limits the number of full liquor licenses according to Ward [I did not know this!]: "26 in Ward 1, 41 in Ward 2, 7 in Ward 3 [OMG!], 16 in Ward 4, 18 in Ward 5, 26 in Ward 6, and 18 in Ward 7." [The rationale for this formula is quite clear.] Quote from neighborhood group person: "We have at least five restaurant owners in Highland who would jump at the chance for an on-sale liquor license." Exceptions to the liquor licenses limits can exist in special "commercial districts" [which somehow include the area around the former Amtrak station?]. The Restaurant Association would like the "60-40 rule" eliminated. Minneapolis eliminated this rule for their neighborhoods two years ago. [The place seemingly hasn't gone to pot. Fascinating article!]  

Headline:  Cooper's to stay open longer than expected in Sibley Plaza
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: A grocery store in a strip mall will close next spring instead of this summer.

Headline: HRA helps Skyline Tower with $12.7M improvement project
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: The largest subsidized affordable housing building in the state is getting rehabbed thanks to some help by the city and other government sources.

Headline: Quest to keep Getten Credit in St. Paul hits another roadblock
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: A "consumer lending company" is still struggling to find a place to relocate after it got displaced by a new bank. Zoning limits where they can go.

Headline: Kowalski's to purchase land for expansion of Grand market
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: The grocery store on Grand Avenue is getting bigger thanks to the purchase of a "city-owned right of way." [What magic strip of land is this?] The plans call for "an off-sale wine shop and a coffee house." [There goes the neighborhood.]

Headline: CIB committee frees up money for additional local projects
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: The citizen committee that prioritizes every project in the city found more money for more things by giving less large sums to fewer things and more small sums to more things. New projects to be funded [tentatively, pending the mayor] include a community center, lighting for Cleveland Avenue, a circus school expansion, and a bike trail [see below].

Headline: I-35E trail among those added to list
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: A [strange] bike trail by the freeway sound wall will be made nicer, probably: "resurfacing, signage, lighting, and new crosswalks." Article includes quote from neighborhood group guy: "There hasn't been a lot done along there for 30 years." [Yup.]

Headline:  Federation hopes more work goes into design of new labor building
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: A local neighborhood group didn't like the designs for a new labor and trades building. [Could always be worse: compare to the godawful Teamsters building on University? For some reasons, union and labor-oriented buildings always seem to be completely dominated by parking lots.] Quote from neighbor: "It seems like a really utilitarian building." Article claims that "labor officials said significant off-street parking will be needed because of the many events that will be hosted at the building." [Saint Paul, a great place for a parking lot. Home of the National Federation of Street Pavers and Parking Attendants Local #FreeParking. Even the Amalgamated Transit Workers Union HQ has a huge parking lot, from what I have heard.]

Headline: Debate continues over proposal for liquor store at Midway SuperTarget
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: [See also this blast from the TCSidewalks past.] Target would like to sell booze, but there's already a liquor store just two strip malls over. A debate is raging over how to quantify the distance between strip malls. [How many strip-mall-liquor-store-frequenting angels can park on the head on the head of a pin? If a tortoise throws an empty vodka bottle towards a strip mall, and it travels 1/2 way to the strip mall in one instant, and 1/2 of the rest of way in the next instant, and so on forever, does it ever strike the concrete surface parking lot?]

Headline: Dowling enters phase two of creating extra special playground
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: A school in [the tiny part of] Minneapolis [that the Villager ostensibly cares about three times each year] will expand its playground by adding zip lines. [Really?] The school has a long history that includes FDR and special needs children.

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