Reading the Highland Villager #163

[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: Plan for West 7th marketplace makes strides as three establishments sign on
Author: Frank Jossi

Short short version: An old building in an old brewery will have at least three cool shops within a year or so. It will be a "festival marketplace" [Hi from the 1980s!] Article includes some history of the brewery. It's probably a year before a lot of tenants open up in the building. The developer got about $1.7M in TIF money for the site. Article quotes around the phrase "a hip destination." [If this works it will be awesome. Still it is really tough to pull something like this off, I think. Even Midtown Global Market had some trouble.]

Headline: City suddenly looking at 7% levy increase for 2017
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: Taxes will go up because the legislature sucks.

Headline: Council OKs soccer stadium, hailed as 'game changer' for city
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: The City Council voted to approve plans for thew new soccer stadium at Snelling and University, CM Prince voting against because "uncertainty abounds." [That's funny because I just got "uncertainty abounds" tatooed on my left calf just a week ago while I was biking through Coon Rapids. I guess we've all been noticing the uncertainty abounding these days, running around like a horny dog pooping in Iris Park. It's enough to fill one with hope and/or fear, or with fiercely negative attitudes about change.] CM Thao got a community benefits agreement attached to the proposal about affordable housing and a diverse workforce. [I would bet it has few teeth.]

Headline: Mayor's budget calls for hiring of pedestrian safety coordinator
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: The mayor gave a budget speech that included $100K for a new pedestrian safety coordinator, half of which is paid by a grant. The job would involve looking at sidewalks, and prioritizing pedestrian safety requests. Three people have been killed while walking in Saint Paul so far this [calendar] year. Article includes strange quote from PW Director Lantry: "one of the biggest challenges for city officials is convincing people that a new stoplight, stop sign, painted crosswalk or other change will not always make a street safer." [The job of the city should not be telling people that "Sorry that won't work." There are lots of ways to improve pedestrian safety that will work, including things like temporary bollards or bumpouts, 4-3 road diets, etc. Painting crosswalks can work if we also make some other changes to the street, and the city should be adopting much more of a "yes and..." appraoch instead of a "yeah but..." default attitude.] The City Council seems supportive of the hire. Article includes picture of a surrender flag. [Sigh. This person will have their hands full.]

Headline: Ramsey County is eyeing 2.8 percent increase in its tax levy
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: People pay taxes for government services.

Headline: Higher city fees and taxes may have homeowners digging deeper in '17
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: Again with the paying for things that cost money thing.

Headline: County seeks proposals for jail, West site in downtown
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: The county is still trying to get people to develop something on the site along the river downtown. They tore down one of the buildings and are tearing down the other one. Hopefully they will have a developer sign an agreement  in the next few months. The request includes the words "bold" and "architecturally significant." [So not a Culver's?] CC Rettman voted against the development. [She and CM Prince should each give TED talks. I would pay to attend.] Article includes some history of the sites, which housed a publishing company and the county jail. Article states that "workers had to install a lage concrete retaining wall and rock bolt tieback system. [That's funny because "Rock Bolt Tieback System" is the name of my blues band.]

Headline: First stretch of Hamline striped for bikes
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: A street on the bike plan is being milled and overlaid and bike lanes are being painted on it, maybe all the way to Pierce Butler Route but maybe not. [Just do it! Of course, the real problem is Hamline South of University, which is a complete horror show despite the fact that it's next to a college campus.] Article quotes a "Hamline-Midway resident and bicycle advocate" who says they should not put bike lanes on the street because people need to park cars there. [If by advocate you mean nutty opponent... ] Neighbors are concerned about traffic and parking. Article quotes neighbor the "bike lanes are not safe because the street is too dangerous" argument. [This is the dumbest anti-bike argument out there. If it's dangerous, let's make it safer.] Article ends by quoting some sort of Mac-Grove resident: "Hamline is a really important connection." [Great quote, bike guy. Next time let's spice it up with some inflammatory rhetoric. This is the Highland Villager, dammit!]

Headline: Proposed Snelling apartments too tall, area residents say
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: A developer wants to build a six-story mixed-use building on Snelling Avenue. Neighbors are concerned about traffic, parking, views, and having more vibrant architecture. The local neighborhood group is having a meeting. [They had the meeting and it sounded like a circus.] The building will have 155 units and 230 parking spaces. [Ummm... this is directly on a brand new high-frequency transit line. Ideally, we'd be talking about development here with little or no parking at all! In Minneapolis they got rid of parking minimums along transit routes, and this would be a textbook case of doing something similar.]

Headline: Leading the charge: Highland expert promotes future of electric cars
Author: Frank Jossi

Short short version: They make cars now that run on electricity, and you plug them in to recharge them. There are dozens of these charging station things in Saint Paul.

Headline: Expect it to be 'messy' during next year's resurfacing of Highway 110: Work also planned on Dodd Road underpass
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: One of the highway in Mendota Heights needs road work. They will be building a $2 million tunnel there for people to cross the street. [This intersection is terrible for bikes. Also, nobody walks in Mendota Heights.]

Headline: Kowalski's expands grocery, deli, opens wine, coffee shops
Author: Larry Englund

Short short version: The grocery store on Grand Avenue has other stuff now.

Headline: St. Paws canine day care is in the doghouse over lack of a city license
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: A dog boarding place on University Avenue doesn't have a license to operate. Article includes the sentence: "at issue with St. Paws is where the dogs relieve themselves." Apparently they have been peeing in a nearby park, which has caused "significant negative impacts." [That's planner speak for "dog shit."]

Headline: State court rules St. Paul right-of-way fees are actually taxes
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: Saint Paul is trying to get non-profits and government entities to pay for streets and other things but it's tricky.

Headline: Merriam Park masonry shop allowed to keep items outside
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: An industrial shop can store industrial-type-things in the out-of-doors.

Headline: Breezeway linking Summit Hill duplex to new garage denied
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: A fancy house will not be allowed to make a roof-type-thing to their new wider garage.

Headline: Appeals court says collector cars need better screening
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: A court decided that a guy who lives in Highland cannot use tarps and fences to hide on the old cars parked in his driveway. [This is such a classic Highland story. Get a garage, old car guy.]

Headline: Homeowners are feeling expansive when it comes to replacing garages
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: Everyone wants a huge garage these days! [The old car guy should read this.]

Headline: BZA approves variance for front-yard garage in Summit Hill
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: [What's with all the garage articles this fortnight? Holy moly folks. Who knew garages were such a journalistic hot-button? Suggested new name for the paper: Saint Paul Wealthier Area Semi-Monthly Garage and Parking Review, or SPWASGAPR. Rolls off the tongue.] Article includes the sentence: "According to Linwood resident and former city planner Larry Soderholm, Summit Hill neighbors have historically opposed front-yard garages, which he described as 'an ugly intrusion' even with good design." [That's a hell of a sentence, and it's kinda funny because "An Ugly Intrusion" is the name of my yet-unpublished one-act play about a visit from the in-laws that goes hilariously wrong.]

1 comment:

Samantha H said...

This is a particularly great reading of the Villager, Bill. Thanks!