Reading the Highland Villager #28 (December 8 - 21 Edition)

[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. That's why I'm reading the Highland Villager so that you don't have to. Until this newspaper goes online, sidewalk information must be set free.]

Total # of articles about sidewalks: 11
Total # of articles about sidewalks written by Jane McClure*: 11

Headline: Mayor sways City Council skeptical about Lofts
Reporter: Jane McClure

Short short version: After a epic stand-off on $9M in funding for the loft project near the St Paul Farmers market [which for the last many years has been a large hole in the ground in Lowertown], the money to subsidize construction was approved. The loft is part of Mayor Coleman's "Rebuild Saint Paul" development project. Somehow, Thune and Lantry had gotten a majority of the council to vote against funding for the loft two weeks ago, but everyone but Lantry voted in favor this time around. [The change is strange because nothing is any different. Perhaps Coleman got pissed and twisted arms? Perhaps horses were traded? Who knows! -Ed.] Article includes some free market kvetching from local real estate moguls about big govmint getting involved in subsidizing development. Article includes picture of giant hole in ground, lightly dusted with fresh November snow.

Headline: St. Paulites balk at large-scale rezoning on University; Residents and businesses object to the package of transit-oriented rezoning
Reporter: Jane McClure

Short short version: Back in November, the St Paul Planning Commission held hearings about the denser, mixed-use (a.k.a. "Traditional Neighborhoods") zoning changes along University's LRT line. Apparently most of the people who showed at the hearing were there to complain. Upset citizens included: St Paul Port Authority and other Chambers of Commerce, who want to keep industrial zoning along the middle portion of the street [actually, according to the plan printed in the Villager, it seems like industrial zoning is left alone?]; owners of businesses like Williams Store [a uniform place] and Glasgow Automotive [a Volvo repair shop]; the pastor of a Lutheran church who is worried about old people who attend it [this one doesn't even try to make sense?]. The very end of the article includes the perspective of the Planning and Economic Development office, who are [attempting to defend an indefensible position] in favor of increasing density and making autos less crucial along this new transit line. [Madness!] Surprising everyone, article includes quote from former City Council Member Debbie Montgomery. [Thank god she's gone. -Ed.]

Headline: Businesses, neighbors fear the heavy alley traffic light rail might bring
Reporter: Jane McClure

Short short version: More on the hearings mentioned above, this article focusing on a recommendation by some unnamed city staff that people use alleys off University to "access parking and businesses." Article cites but does not name "some Planning Commission members" who were surprised [and presumably upset] by this. Article concludes with vague meanderings about alleys, uses of alleys, something about alleys... Who owns alleys? The city. Does the city plow alleys? No.

Headline: Local projects vie for a piece of St. Paul's capital improvement pie
Reporter: Jane McClure

Short short version: Lots of different projects are trying to get scarce city money this year, including: Highland Village's new streetscape, better streetlights on Grand between Lexington and Ayd Mill road, traffic calming on Summit by the William Mitchell Law School, unspecified pedestrian safety stuff between Ayd Mill and Hamline, new sidewalks on Griggs near Dunning Park, an extended Marshall Ave median, and new streetlights on Montreal between Snelling and Cleveland.

Headline: Woman's death on Grand Avenue revives push for pedestrian safety
Reporter: Jane McClure

Short short version: After a woman was killed trying to cross Grand Avenue last month, local neighborhood associations are trying to get funding for new pedestrian safety measures. Article mentions that 14,400 cars go past on Grand and Hamline each day. Apparently ideas for pedestrian improvements have been bandied about for years, including bumpouts and/or a median with planters along the bridge over Ayd Mill Road. Also mentioned: "bent straw lights" which are apparently ineffective. Also also: St. Paul is launching a pedestrian safety campaign next spring.

Headline: Auto repair shops seek their place in rezoned Highland Village; Rezoning fails to provide for future of auto-related firms
Reporter: Jane McClure

Short short version: Another article about how recent change to "Traditional Neighborhood" zoning [the purpose of which is to make areas more dense, walkable, and less auto-dependent] poses problems for auto repair shops. [It also poses problems for giant surface parking lots, small sprawling single family ranch houses, scrap metal yards, abbatoirs, etc.] Just like in the University Avenue case, the Highland Village area has been zoned so that the two tire stores along Ford Parkway will be nonconforming [i.e. they won't be able to expand]. The entire article is written in the passive voice, e.g. "questions have been raised" or "another concern is..." [Article misses entire point of TN zoning, which is that the large parking lots required for auto-repair businesses are anathema to creating walkable, dense parts of the city. -Ed.]

Headline: Ramsey County braces for budget cutting in wake of 2010 elections
Reporter: Jane McClure

Short short version: Article about how the GOP-controlled [sic] State Legislature is going to slash the Ramsey County budget next year.

Headline: Advance crews begin light-rail work
Reporter: Jane McClure

Short short version: Though "heavy construction" begins in March on University b/w Emerald and Hamline, men in orange vests have already begun spraypainting on the ground.

Headline: St Paul residents reminded to keep sidewalks shoveled
Reporter: Jane McClure

Short short version: After it snows, you only have 24 hours to shovel that sucker.

Headline: UST postpones discussion on site for new tennis courts
Reporter: Jane McClure

Short short version: In the great game of chicken between St. Thomas and politically-connected Summit Avenue neighbors, St. Thomas has flinched, deciding not to build its tennis courts quite yet.

Headline: Council allows West End shop to board pets, with conditions
Reporter: Jane McClure

Short short version: Good news for Sandy's Pet Grooming! They'll be allowed to board up to 6 pets.

* Hardest working woman in upper-midwestern NIMBY reportage.

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