Reading the Highland Villager #152

[Villager in the window of a Cleveland Ave barber shop.]
[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: Residents push to save St. Paul's oldest fire station; Developers want site for new Marriott Hotel
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: An old fire station that was built in 1871 but has been shuttered for decades might be torn down in order to build a new 100-room hotel. Preservationists want to save the building. The neighborhood is called "Little Bohemia" apparently. [I have maybe heard this name only rarely. It's too bad they tore down half of Little Bohemia to build parking lots and wider roads.] The building has no "historic designation." There was a "rally." A firefighter who fought fires from the fire station died in 1882. The building is "Italianate." It had a belltower on its top until the 1930s. [Woah. Kinda cool history. If they can get it done, great. But this part of town could use a pulse, and a hotel seems like a decent thing to be on this corner. Note that the developer, Herb Brooks' brother, is the guy who bricked up the alley without asking permission from the Lowertown preservation district. See this article for details and a photo.]

Headline: Whole lotta business at Selby-Snelling: New market (and then some) ushers in a new era at corner
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: The new Whole Foods is open now. [Haven't been yet, but wanna check out their beer and snacks!] Article includes reference to 150 types of cheese. [Hm.] Article states that parking and traffic not a big deal. [Yes, the article says this! I'm not sure what to make of it.] The 277-space underground heated parking lot is only 60% full. [That's what, $50K per space or something?] Article includes quote from [my favorite] vintage store owner: "I think it's a positive improvement in the neighborhood."

Headline: Stop For Me campaign seeks to make city's streets safer
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: Walkability and neighborhood safety advocates are working with the police to set up crosswalk law enforcement stings and an awareness campaign. [See also my article on this topic.] Drivers "did not see" people trying to cross the street. Two grants are paying for the project.  Last month a woman was killed trying to cross Kellogg Boulevard in a crosswalk. People on foot or bikes have been hit by cars 38 times so far this year. Article quotes CM Stark saying "we'd like motorists to pay attention." Article includes picture of a person using a [surrender] flag to cross Snelling. [How long did the Villager photographer have to wait to see this? I assume they posed this surrender flag user, because I've only once in my life seen anyone actually using these orange flags. I was arrested.]

Headline: Council approves the use of TIF to help finance development of Ford site
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: Whoever develops the land on which an old truck factory had sat might be able to use some city money in deferred taxes to do so. The TIF district was already approved in '13, and was re-approved. [Still waiting on Ford to announce something about the environmental cleanup.]

Headline: City considering new medians to calm traffic on Snelling
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: Snelling Avenue, a busy [Mn-DOT controlled] street might get 10' medians between Randolph and Ford. [It's also the #1 most dangerous street in the city, and is all-but-uncrossable if you don't have a traffic signal to lean on.] The medians should slow traffic and improve safety. Bumpouts will also be added. The money, $2M, would come from the 8-80 fund and maybe state grants. Left turns from Snelling would not be allowed on every other street. City staff are anticipating that neighbors will be concerned [though nobody is known to be concerned as of yet].

Headline: Council OKs Cleveland bike lanes; Opponents brace for loss in on-street parking
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: The city and county are striping a new bike lane on Cleveland Avenue. [Didn't read the article, but as far as I can tell, there seems to be broad support for the change. Basically, it's like these two little white lines of paint on the street, about 5 feet from each other, and you ride your bike in between them so that cars know where you're supposed to be and don't run you over. Seems like a safety thing, like putting in a stop sign or installing a guard rail on a bridge. I'm sure it's no big deal.]

Headline: Council OKs handicap space for Stone Saloon
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: And old building that will serve beer someday will be allowed to build a handicapped-accessible parking space in the alley.

Headline: Midway neighbors coming to grips with prospect of pro soccer
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: There was a meeting and the Mayor was there. Neighbors are concerned about traffic and parking. Some of the shopping center that is there now will be torn down for the new soccer stadium. Lots of people drive and park cars on the streets. One individual who was at the meeting pays his taxes. Nobody wants the atmosphere to be like the State Fair. An "areawide review" is underway. The study will not include any Ayd Mill Road shenanigans. The soccer team would like to start using the stadium in '18. Buses were discussed. [From a study I have seen, the projected everyday mode share for the development around the stadium, which will take many years to complete, is 80/20 driving/non-driving, but I think that's not ambitious enough. However it is, apparently, "realistic."]

Headline: Council keeps open the possibility of TIF for Midway development
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: Whoever develops the land on which an old streetcar barn had sat and current strip mall and parking currently sit might be able to use some city money in deferred taxes to do so. The Council vote on the subject was 4-3, which CMs Noecker, Bostrom, and Prince voting to restrict TIF. [CM Thao's comments at the meeting were very heated, by the way!] CM Noecker sponsored the resolution, citing the public money that has already been spent.

Headline: Comment sought on changes to city's congregate living regs
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: There will be a public hearing to discuss how the city should classify things like group homes, boarding homes, shelters, frats, etc. Some neighbors from Merriam Park would like sober houses to be farther apart from each other because they are concerned about noise, traffic, and parking. [Don't people who live in sober houses often do so because their drivers' license has been revoked?]

[This fortnight's Villager opera was Wagner again, because it had the best fire scene.]

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