14.12.16

Reading the Highland Villager #170

[Give me your tired, poor,  huddled Villagers, yearning for more parking...]
[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: Changes debated for city commission that reviews alleged police misconduct
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: The panel that's supposed to keep the Police honest will not have police on it.


Headline: New streets on Ford site may solve local traffic tie-ups
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: As part of the city's planning for the development on the old Ford auto plant, some consulting firms did a a study trying to predict how people would get around. There are some planned streets of various types that will help connect the streets in the neighborhood more effectively around what was formerly an impassable factory that produced trucks. Neighbors are concerned about traffic and parking.  There will be new intersections with turn lanes, traffic signals, and other things like that. There might or might not be transit through the site. [See also: my blog plea on this.] Neighbors are particularly concerned about traffic on streets leading to and from the site like Cretin Avenue. [Which, incidentally, only has about 7-K cars per day South of Grand and is certainly too wide presently to offer much chance of having traffic calming features. The #1 thing we could do here is build bumpouts and narrow the street, which would slow cars down hopefully to the point where people could cross the street using their feet, for example. Cretin North of Summit Avenue, on the other hand, remains a complete disaster for anyone not driving.] The consultants used a model to figure out where people would drive to and from the site in theory and it's pretty spread out. Key line: "the consultants looked at current traffic conditions as well as future trends in making their recommendations, planning for a neighborhood where people can walk to and from jobs, shopping or transit stations and not have to rely as much on motor vehicles." [This is generally a really good job. Also, generally, there is a LOT of wiggle room revolving around auto dependence based on things like the amount of parking you provide and whether or not there is transit. In theory, this community could be the #1 transit-accessible spot in the Metro area that is not a downtown. It would be kind of amazing, if done right, and be a huge draw for people who do not want to drive all the time. This is probably a difficult scenario for people who drive all the time to imagine. But believe it: there are people who want to live in a neighborhood where you don't have to drive all the time. That's what this could be.]


Headline: Taxpayers testify against 2017 levy increases
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: People are upset about property taxes.


Headline: Easier being green; St. Paul rolls out convenient new cars in hopes of expanding residential recycling
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: You can throw your recycling into large blue plastic bins on wheels now.


Headline: Churches reject settlement, press lawsuit against right-of-way fees; City task force is looking at changes to $30M program
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: Churches are upset about things that are kind of like property taxes but not exactly the same. They are launching a lawsuit that might sort-of bankrupt the city and/or force property taxes to go up for property owners who pay those. Key line: "the churches maintain that the city has failed to show that they get any special benefits from the assessments." [The assessments pay for streets maintenance,  construction, potholes, and things like tree trimming. (See below.) I don't know. Can't the city show that the "benefits" of having paved streets, plowed streets, trees, etc. ARE indeed "worth" the $10K or whatever the are paying?]


Headline: At Home has designs on Grand corner
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: A developer is proposing building a four-story building on Grand Avenue. Neighbors are concerned about traffic, aesthetics, and pedestrian safety. The lots would need to be rezoned. [They should be rezoned anyway. If any street should be TN (traditional neighborhood) zoning, it's Grand Avenue, no?]


Headline: Car2go says high taxes will drive it out of Twin Cities by year's end
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: A car-sharing company is leaving the Twin Cities because they are not making enough money. [This sucks because it was another option for people who would like to not own a car / not drive a car all the time. Car2go was particularly flexible. The rental vehicle tax is an easy tax to raise for legislators because, in theory, only non-voters pay for it, people visiting from out of state. But in actuality in this case, car sharing is overwhelmingly used by people who actually live in, pay taxes in, and vote in Minnesota. Car sharing companies should be licensed and taxed differently, because the benefits to local governments and transportation costs are tremendous, especially if you can reduce people's overall driving. So, this is dumb!] Hourcar, another car sharing (non-profit) company, is officially sad about it.


Headline: Board OKs master plan for UST campus
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: The people in charge of the University of St. Thomas have approved the plan for the campus which involves expanding and building new buildings.


Headline: Mayor Coleman will not be seeking re-election in 2017
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: [He is running for Governor.]


Headline: City unveils possible solutions to Ramsey Hill parking crunch
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: Neighbors are concerned about parking in a popular neighborhood. There is a huge parking lot next to a community college and a YWCA. Some streets only have parking on one side. [Parking meters are not mentioned, despite the fact that they work really well at solving "problems" like this.]


Headline: City up budget for asphalt repair and ash tree removal
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: Taking care of trees and potholes and cutting down sick trees costs a lot of money. [But not for churches apparently.] The city will try and cut down over 1,000 sick ash trees next year.

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