31.5.16

Reading the Highland Villager #156

[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: Plans for soccer stadium, Midway center redesign coming to a head
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: There will be a public hearing on the soccer stadium at the Planning Commission on June 10th. [I can’t wait. I will listen attentively.] Draft plans have changed many times so far [and will change again]. Some people worry that there is not time to review the changing plans. Neighborhood groups are deciding what to do. Different agencies are involved including MnDOT. The stadium will be done by 2018, but the timing of the other parts of the redevelopment are much more uncertain. Article quotes city staffer: “We can’t make somebody build something.”  Neighbor quoted saying "What happens if all we get is a stadium?” [This is precisely my concern too. The recent early renderings with short term parking lots everywhere are not encouraging on that front. Surprisingly though, this article does not mention parking EVEN ONCE. The word does not appear. That is pretty much unprecedented unprecedented for a Highland Villager story.]


Headline: Commission supports liquor license for West 7th theater
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: An old theater being remodeled may be allowed to sell booze. Neighbors are concerned about parking and “patron problems.” [Patron problems… as if West 7th Street does not have bars?]  “There are no available liquor licenses in Ward 2 outside of downtown,” which means that the area will require a special district designation. The theater received a 12-space variance from minimum parking requirements. [Minimum parking requirements are based on extremely inexact science.]  Former CM Thune is concerned about parking. Article includes reference to an historic “blade-style” sign. [Blade style! West 7th parking knife fight.]


Headline: If transit fits: Riverview options emerge [Is this headline an O.J. Simpson/Johnny Cochrane reference?] 
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: Planning for a possible rail transit project along West 7th and/or the old abandoned railroad right-of-way are still happening. There were walking tours. The rights-of-way are “narrower than University Avenue.” [Of course, the CP ROW is empty, containing zero lanes of traffic or parking.] There might or might not be dedicated lanes. [The more I imagine streetcars in traffic the more I imagine them being stuck during rush hour. Though, buses are also stuck in traffic during rush hour, so maybe it’s a wash, at least if you’re taking dedicated ROW off the table, as the neighborhood leaders seem to want to do. Still the CP spur could have higher speeds than any route that went on West 7th itself, which would greatly improve overall transit dynamics.] Neighbors are concerned about parking and “proximity.” Article quotes guy from neighborhood group saying that 10’ lanes are narrow. [Even though that is what currently exists.] Article mentions streetcars, but these do not qualify for regional transit funds for some reason. [Even though they are functionally the same as LRT. There is a great deal of “grey area” between an LRT and a streetcar, in fact.]


Headline: Council allows use of Summit Hill triplex
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: A building that might or might not have been a triplex in the past can be a triplex in the future thanks to a City Council vote that over-rode the Planning Commission.


Headline: New task force works out final plan for Linwood-Monroe A+
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: An arts school will expand. Neighbors were concerned about losing “open space” [private land owned by the school that people next door had been using as a park even though it wasn’t one]. There will still be more meetings about the issue. The school needs to expand because it is crowded [and kids learn in schools, that whole “education” thing]. One issue is how large the playground will be.


Headline: Expansions are also in store for Adams, Mann, Highland Park
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: More schools are going to be renovated and/or expanded in the future. [Let’s hope that anti-school renovation NIMBY neighbors aren’t next to these schools too!] Two of them will have “expanded parking areas.” [Because if there’s one thing that helps kids learn, it’s parking lots.] Neighbors are concerned about the loss of open space, traffic, parking, and pedestrian safety.


Headline: New facility for city’s homeless reaches fundraising milestone
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: The homeless shelter downtown is raising money to pay for its expansion. It’s currently overcrowded. [So nobody is worried about the loss of open space here? PS the legislature not passing a bonding bill affects this because there was state money for this shelter in the Governor’s proposal.] 


Headline: City Council to hear appeal on proposed Grand condos
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: The Council will vote on whether or not to approve an 8-unit building on a [now-vacant] site on Grand Avenue [between two very similarly-sized more units but with less parking historic buildings on Grand Avenue]. The building requires setback variances. Neighbors are concerned about traffic, parking, “intruding on privacy” and size.


Headline: Otto Avenue’s speed limit reduced from 35 to 30 mph
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: The speed limit on a street will go down. [Why the heck was it ever 35 mph in the first place?] Neighbors are concerned about speeding. [As they should be!] Apparently MnDOT is to blame. The street now has a bike path.


Headline: TJL Development purchases newly vacant Grand Ave. lot
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: The space where old an dilapidated building had formerly been has been purchased by a developer. Likely something resembling mixed-use apartments will be built there. [Imma guess that neighbors will be concerned about traffic and parking, though you never know.]


Headline: Save Our Neighborhoods gets Heritage Preservation Award
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: A grassroots group that tried to stop home teardowns and homes “that are viewed as out of character” received an award from a preservation group.


Headline: Cossetta event center, 175 housing units planned for Chestnut Street
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: A pizza place and Italian market [with a famous crazy parking lot and an owner that received an exemption from the city’s living wage law because he didn’t want to pay his employees what everyone else has to pay their employees] is expanding by making an events center. Meanwhile a parking lot will be replaced by six-story apartments and a parking ramp. There are no height limits, and the design might be “contemporary.” Article quotes guy from neighborhood group concerned about the building being too tall. [Really? Isn’t it directly next to a much larger building under construction?]

Bonus:

You might remember the misleading anti-bike-lane advertisement placed in the Highland Villager some weeks ago? I blogged about it. At any rate, the ad's author is still at it, this time with some highly remarkable artwork. Here you go:

 
And a close-up of the cartoon:


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