Reading the Highland Villager #149

[Post-hibernation Villagers waiting for trash men to pick them up.]
[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. Until this newspaper goes online, sidewalk information must be set free. See also: Three Reasons Why I Re-Blog the Highland Villager.] 

Headline: City may face a fight at Capitol over organized trash collection; St. Paul's $300,000 study of issue is just getting underway
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: The city is studying whether to "organize" the currently un-organized "system" whereby everyone in the city hires their own garbagemen individually. [See my story on this in Minnpost.] Theoretically the plan would keep using the existing private garbage companies, only consolidating them into specific neighborhoods according to existing market share. A GOP state represntative from Farmington [which is, I am quite sure, exactly the kind of CWADS place where many of the people who own these "local" trash companies actually live] is introducing a bill at the state legislature that would introduce a five-year moratorium on cities organizing their trash. The logic behind this is that "it would give cities more time to study the issue." [Hm. Pretty sure there is no meaningful "logic" there, merely empty sounds assuming the garb of the English language.] 2/3 of the cities in the State of Minnesota have organized trash collection. Richfield, Edina, and Rochester are also studying organized trash collection. [Edina doesn't have organized trash? Every day I nod anew in astonishment.] Article includes some history of St Paul's trash collection. Article quotes CM Thao as being an "ardent supporter," and saying that the current system is "bad for alleys and infrastructure. [This is true.] Article quotes a garbage man saying "people are skeptical about organized trash collection."  [Another convincing argument! I thought Republicans believed in local control of things? It's not like there's any history of garbage collectors and corruption or anything...Wait, isn't that the "business" that Tony Soprano was in? I picture a Princess Leia like hologram image of a trash hauler appearing before the exurban republican saying, "help me Representative Pat Garofalo of Farmington, you are our only hope." PS. apologies for these "short short versions" getting a bit too long. Not sure what to do about it. I just CARE TOO MUCH.]

Headline: District councils build on cohesiveness of neighborhoods of old; St. Paul's system for citizen participation marks 40 years
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: The "district council" system, of which there are 17, is now 40 years old. [There. See? That's better. Very short.]

Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: [O Heck there were some good details in the story up there.] The district council system back in the 70s grew out of neighborhood associations like the Lex-Ham association or the Snell-Ham association. [But not the honey baked ham association.] The Midway Chamber of Commerce "worked to entice Henry Ford of Ford Motor Company to build a new assembly plant in Highland Park in the 1920s." [How did that turn out?] There used to be "ward clubs" that wielded influence over their parts of Saint Paul. Lyndon Johnson served as the impetus for the current councils. [I KNEW IT!] Some associations formed specifically to stop grocery stores from being built. [See also this article on citizen particiapation in local politics that I wrote a while ago.]

Headline: Plan restores parking lost for Cleveland bike lane [A much better headline than the Pioneer Press, by the way]
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: The Cleveland Avenue bike lane, which is going to be built this summer, will require people to park a bit farther away in neighborhood side streets and in slightly adjusted "residential parking" areas. Article includes a colorful but confusing map of residential parking areas. [These should be adjusted based on market principles, which higher prices for permits and the ability of people to "buy" one depending on available space.]

Headline: Stadium task force awaits detailed plans; Meanwhile, project impact study begins
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: People are still waiting to find out what the stadium and the area around the staium are going to look like. [Sounds like some active public engagement! PS. These details just came out yesterday.] Article quotes team owner [and really rich guy] as saying "I don't look at it is an establisihed bad place that can only get worse." [I can't even make sense of that.] There's also something called an AUAR ("alternative urban areawide review") but I don't understand what it is. It seems like a "more expeditious" alternative to an EIS. [Sounds a bit shady. I don't know. I do look at this as an establisehd bad place that can only get better.]

Headline: Test runs of rapid transit begin on Snelling; 'A' Line bus service will start on June 11
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: Buses on Snelling will be nicer starting this summer. Article quotes Met council guy saying that the new bus "will have an exponential effect on ridership."

Headline: Grand Old Days? June street festival gets the nod for a second day of outdoor music; SHA compromises with GABA on expanding fest
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: Grand Old Day will be two days now. You will be able to drink beer outside, buy things on the sidewalk, and listen to music on Saturday too. [Something about PROCESS IS BROKEN.] Quote from neighbor: "I'm tired f people urinating on my front stoop." [Amen, my brother.] Article includes references to vomit.

Headline: Legal settlement reached over more accessible curb ramps
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: People trying to get disability and ADA-required sidewalks had to sue the city, which finally settled and agreed to upgrade ramps on Cretin, Fairview, Grand, Hamline and Summit, along with some others. This will have to happen for mill and overlay projects, not just full reconstructions, as had previously been the practice. Article includes detailed descriptions of curb cuts and sidewalk design. The city has until the end of 2017 and it will cost $1M. [Pretty basic stuff; the city screwed up when they didn't do it right the first time during the whole "terrible twenty" thingy.]

Headline: Support builds for TIF to help finance Ford redevelopment
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: The Planning Commission [which I am a member of], City Council, and Mayors' office seem to want to keep "tax-increment financing" on the table as an option for the Ford site redevelopment, an old auto factory [mentioned higher up here]. Details are not known. Article quotes CM Tolbert as saying cities tend to overuse TIF.

Headline: In 7 years, ash borer has spread to almost every corner of St. Paul; trees will be treated still, but the benefit of containment 'is gone'
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: Ash borers are killing ash trees everywhere now. There are 30K remaining ash trees. They're all gonna die. Article includes map.

Headline: Transit options narrowed in proposed Riverview Corridor; Shepard Road and I-35E nixed as possible routes
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: When the committee that's deciding where and how to put transit along West 7th Street and Highland finally decides where and how to do it, they won't be deciding on putting it along the two freeways. [Well that should have been obvious.] Neighbors are concerned about traffic and parking and hazards for pedestrians and bicycles and also noise near houses. Article includes transit spokesperson saying "there will be tradeoffs." [Ominous but obvious.]

PS. Today's Reading the Highland Villager opera music was Puccini's La Boheme.

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