Reading the Highland Villager #161

[Plant, ashtray, Highland Villagers and Growlers, blue door.]
[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: State officials question city's rosy forecasts for traffic near soccer stadium
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: The state DOT has submitted comments on the planning and traffic projection numbers done as part of the soccer stadium and Snelling-University development site. The Met Council would like to see more discussion of "roadway improvements" [read: road widening, because that' what the DOT almost always wants to see happen, which again will not solve the problem because demand for driving will only increase. No matter what you do here, there will be a lot of congestion during game times]. Met Council comments suggest that people might not necessarily take transit in the high numbers that the study claims. Article describes the parking planning. Article includes quote from PED Director about how this report is a "framework." Article mentions that other commenters wanted improved sidewalk and bike connections. [The Transportation Committee where I'm a member also submitted comments on this report, too, about the lack of bicycle connections and adequate pedestrian sidewalk widths and safety measures, so this is maybe what the article is mentioning.] Neighbors are concerned about parking. [It'll be fine. Different, but fine. I think people are going to park farther away and walk to the games. Some people will complain about it. Others won't.]

Headline: St. Paul releases blueprint for organized trash pickup; City's 14 licensed haulers have 60 days to negotiate a plan that passes muster
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version:  The city is coming up with a plan to have garbage trucks get "organized" so that they're not all running down the same streets all the time. There will be twice-monthly meetings. [Oh man I bet those meetings are going to be terrible. I always imagine that these garbage haulers hate each other, kind of like in a mafia / gangster movies when you get all the different "bosses" together at some innocuous Holiday Inn.] Smaller haulers are worried that big chains [like Waste Management] will take over. [Waste Management is a classic predatory corporation a la Starbucks or Walmart, by the way.] Article includes brief history of the organization planning, which makes a lot of environmental and economic sense.

Headline: Hearing set Aug. 3 on plans for new stadium, Midway Center; Planning Commission will vote on Aug. 5 on two project variances
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: There was a public hearing and a meeting to vote on zoning variances for the soccer stadium. [I missed it.]

Headline: UST to raze five buildings on two-block area north of Grand
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: The University of Saint Thomas is tearing down houses on Grand Avenue instead of remodeling them. They have been rental housing and offices, including the office for "Parking Services." [Where do Parking Services workers park?] Article includes quote from University spokesperson about money. Neighbors are concerned about hastiness, and would like to know the plans. Best quote: "I suspect there's a larger plan than green space afoot and I'd like to know what it is."

Headline: District anxiously awaits proposals for vacant Riverside School
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: The school district is selling an abandoned school but nobody knows who is going to buy it yet or what they will do. Neighbors want to preserve the building. Article includes some history of the building, which was built in the 1920s.

Headline: Council approves funding for Lilydale Park drainage
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: A park along the river that floods a lot will get $800K to fix water drainage issues, like culverts for example.

Headline: St. Paul changes regulations for transportation companies
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: Uber and Lyft will now have to have to have licenses just like taxi companies do. Training requirements will be changed, too, and cabs can stay "on the street" for longer.

Headline: Council approves commercial district for West End theater
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: An old theater is being restored [at long last] but neighbors are worried about parking and noise and "drunken behavior." Despite that, the City Council voted to give the building a "commercial district" status and thus a liquor license. Quote from neighbor: "parking in the area is already a challenge." [Um, not really, not if you're willing to walk a block.] The building is still in rough shape.

Headline: City Council approves Selby-Snelling bypass via Saratoga and Dayton Ave.
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: An area with a lot of traffic will be slightly changed so that there will be a right-turn lane will be able to cut around the new Whole Foods building instead of having to wait a bit longer to get through the light. [I think this is dumb but whatever. There is nothing the city really can do to alleviate traffic trying to cut from Ayd Mill Road to I-94 that won't erode walkability in the neighborhood. Instead, the city should prioritize the residents and commercial streetscapes of this corner, and not worry so much about the traffic congestion of commuters trying to cut through the city. In fact, the bumpout in front of the Whole Foods is made this area much better than it used to be, as cars no longer constantly weave and turn around each other at this corner. Instead, you can actually cross the street on foot. Any "congestion improvements" here would spur a classic "induced demand" scenario, and not solve the traffic problem in the long run.] Article quotes owner of coffee shoo: I cross Selby every day on foot and I have to jump out of the way." [Best coffee shop, by the way.] Neighbors are concerned about traffic and suggest introducing a "no turn on red" rule or a leading pedestrian interval. [Both a good ideas! Much needed. Still, the only real solution remains doing a road diet / freeway removal on Ayd Mill Road, which should never have been connected to the freeway system in the first place.]

Headline: Seven Spokes owner has affinity for families, with seven kids of her own
Author: Frank Jossi

Short short version:  There's a new bike shop in Highland, and it's woman-owned! [That's very rare in the male-dominated bike world.] She's from Alaska.

Headline: The Finn on Cleveland inks another tenant
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: A haircut place will move into the new building being built in Highland. [It's called "mixed-use," and it's when you have a building with people living in some parts and stores or offices in other parts. It's an old idea that seems to have fallen out of favor but is still pretty smart thing to do.]

Headline: St. Paul stops the installation of new streetlights pending a study of LEDs
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: Neighbors are concerned about the new streetlights, so the city will study how bright they are, how they are angled, and what part of the IR spectrum they inhabit. Article states that complains are not spread evenly across the city: "Merriam Park and Lexington-Hamline are the only two neighborhoods where people have complained about the lights thus far." One man has had to "retreat" from his porch. The complaints might have something to do with "hills" or boulevard heights.

Headline: Plan for Highland Park Elementary expansion gains support
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: A school is expanding. Neighbors are concerned about the loss of open space. Teachers and parents seem to like the plan though because the school is crowded.

Headline: Horace Mann's proposed expansion also submitted for city review; Work continues on renovation plans for Linwood Monroe and Adams campuses
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version:Other schools are going to be fixed up or expanded too. Neighbors are concerned about the loss of green space. [But not as concerned about over-crowding children, I guess? Seems a bit selfish to me.]

Note: This Highland Villager re-cap composed while listening to Verdi's Nabucco.

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