Reading the Highland Villager #134

[A Villager delivered to a Highland rooftop. H/t to Jeff.]
[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: Study recommends transit-oriented re-zoning of property all along Snelling
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: The Planning Commission is releasing the results of a study that suggest rezoning for denser mixed-use development along Snelling Avenue, which is getting a new [quasi] bus rapid transit. The study was part of a collaborative effort with the U of MN's Center for Urban and Regional Affairs (CURA). Article includes "one red flag is the considerable amount of single-family residential property along Snelling." [Note: article has very little strum und drang.]

Headline: Selby-Snelling: a place you don't just drive by [Of course it is though.]
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: [Also, whither the "snelby" moniker?] Piece on the [planned, already occurred] "Bastille Day" celebration and street fair at Selby and Snelling. [18th c. Parisian barricades = 21st century MN-DOT urban highway.] The neighborhood groups is throwing the street party in part because of construction on the 94 bridge, and because of the new mixed-use apartment building going up on the site. Article includes long description of how crappy Snelling is to walk near, on, or across. Article includes quote from owner of coffee shop.  The new large building on the corner is seeking ideas for how to include art and use its "landmark" presence to change the feel of the street. [Bon chance!]

Headline: County backs St. Paul rollout of recycling carts
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: In two years will be able to put your empty cans and bottles into a large plastic bin with wheels instead of a small plastic bin without. This was surprisingly controversial, and cost $3.5M. There was some back and forth about whether the city or county would pay the costs.

Headline: Public sounds off on Randolph's continued reconstruction in '16
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: A street is getting repaired so you can't drive on it for a while. It will cost money. Some people would like to see bumpouts added for the safety of people walking. But there is snow sometimes. These bumpouts will happen anyway probably. The intersection with Lexington will not be widened, as was planned, but there will be "changes to lane configurations." Article includes LOS grades. A right-turn lane will become a through lane and another lane will be striped.  Then there will be two lanes, plus another lane on the other corner. Plus another lane  and a lane for turns one way and the other way too. The bus stop might move 200 feet away from the corner so that people have to walk farther to catch the bus and go to the store. There is a Trader Joe's and it is [E-VIL] causing traffic problems as people [buy mind-control cheese from animatronic zombie cashiers] pull into and out of the parking lot. Best quote: "several people said they like to walk to Trader Joe's." [Zombies, probably.] Boulevard space will disappear. [Who need boulevards?]

Headline: New developments improve prospects for brewery renovation
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: Another building at the Schmidt site will be renovated. It will be turned into a "festival marketplace." [Boy there's an urban development cliché I haven't heard in a while. Maybe the 80s are coming back?] The [allegedly awesome] "rathskeller building" [that I hope will become a beer-serving place] still needs tenants. "The conversion of the building is progressing more slowly than expected" because of the roof. 

Headline: City discusses future of stormwater management on Ford site
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: When it rains maybe water will not go into storm sewers. [See this for what that means.] They might "daylight" Hidden Falls Creek. [That would be rad!] Some want to memorialize Native Americans. Others want to memorialize truck factory workers.

Headline: Expect more noise as Xcel begins third year of gas pipeline work
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: A 12-mile-long pipe that carries gas from the power plant to Roseville is being replaced and big machines will be making noise. [Why do we have a pipe for gas? Is this like for your stove? Heater?]

Headline: Effort begins to calm traffic on Snelling [Kind of like if you read a headline that said "World leaders start thinking about fixing climate change."]
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: Snelling is being reconstructed. It might become "more welcoming" and cars might drive more slowly. The medians will have grassy bits. There will be a much faster bus. MnDOT guy describes Snelling as "the great concrete divide." [Good thing they're fixing it completely.] Sidewalks on the bridge over the freeway will be 11'. Best quote from a neighborhood resident: "The wider sidewalks and boulevards should cause Snelling Avenue pedestrians to feel safer if not actually be safer." [Power of positive thinking.] The porkchop islands will change and grow. Some want small pocket parks, but others worry the parks "will attract vagrants and panhandlers." [Yeah there aren't any panhandlers there now.] Some want better landscaping but others in the city and state worry plants would decrease sight lines for people driving their cars quickly.

Headline: STAR board favors funding for only handful of local projects [All these years and I've never once seen a "STAR Wars" headline.]
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: A pot of money used for neighborhood improvements will go to a 17 different Saint Paul businesses, but not to others. Money for these kinds of projects has been diminishing because the city is short on funds for other things. Arnellia's is getting a patio.

Headline: St. Paul rec center staff reorganization appears to have gone without a hitch
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: Instead of two "service areas" for Saint Paul's rec centers, there are three now, grouped into nine "campuses."

Headline: HPC denies plan to add five stories to University building; Exeter wants to put 119 apartments above shops
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: Developers want to build apartments on top of an old one-story building by Raymond and University that used to be a truck company. But the heritage preservation commission (HPC) doesn't want that to happen. The HPC is worried the development is too big, and that "the entire district [would] lose its historic status."  Quote from developer: we love doing these projects in infill historic districts; I think we've come up with a great plan." [Seems that way to me too. The buildings on either side are pretty tall.] The addition would be stepped back and keep the historic building in place. The building recently housed an "armored car firm." [It doesn't get more Saint Paul than that.]

Headline: HRA reassigns loan to pave away for rehabbing of Cathedral Hill Homes
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: Affordable housing apartments will be fixed up thanks to a $440K city loan.

Headline: [Ironically buried in sports section] Women on Bikes promotes interest in two-wheel travel
Author: Brian Johnson

Short short version: A group of women are trying to ride bicycles in Saint Paul and talking about it. Quote from organizer: "bicycling is not just something that 40-something men in spandex do, but women, families, moms and dads do for all kinds of reason." They have a Facebook page. They go on organized rides, like to breweries and cafés. Apparently women want to feel safe while biking in Saint Paul. [I don't see that working out.]

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