Reading the Highland Villager #74

[A Villager impersonates a doormat.]
[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.]

Headline: HDC supports master plan to level Ford plant; Backing subject to resolving concerns raised by residents
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: The neighborhood group met recently and decided that the demolishment plan for the Ford factory is OK. Some people are concerned about truck traffic, noise and dust. Ford is keeping the facade from the original 1924 building, though nobody knows why. [You'd think that if there was one thing US auto companies were good at, it would be demolishing their old factories.]

Headline: Say goodbye to light-rail detours and lane closures
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: University Avenue is back to four lanes each way, for driving.

Headline: Council approves $564 million budget for St. Paul in 2013; 11th-hour changes restore rec center programs, food inspectors, library hours
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: The city passed a budget. It won't close the downtown library on Mondays, nor the rec centers on the North and and East side. Article includes lots of numbers.

Headline: St. Paul holds off on leasing out two more recreation centers; Conway, McDonough receive six-month reprieve as council studies how its picks tenants
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: More on the rec centers [mentioned above]. The city is closing many of its rec centers. They want to "evaluate" the changes. Article includes quotes from CMs Lantry, Tolbert, Bostrom, and Stark.

Headline: MnDOT endorses design for new Hamline Avenue bridge 
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: A 50-year old bridge over Ayd Mill Road will be replaced. There is some debate about a 4-3 conversion of Hamline Avenue [which really ought to have been considered earlier, one would think]. Article includes amusing quote: "Transit for Liveable Communities also announced at the meeting that it is studying the possibility of converting Hamline from four lanes to three, which suprised St. Paul Department of Public Works staff and the project's consultants." [Pretty easy to surprise them, actually. They're very jumpy.]

Headline: Lower speed sought in Victoria Park
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: The speed limit on Otto Avenue is 35 miles per hour. Getting this lowered seems complicated. [Why? Oh the humanity. I've heard that one urban goal for the coming legislative session will be a law that allows cities to lower the speed limit below 30, which is currently the state minimum. Of course, speed limits don't do much if the street design speed is too high, but that's another story...]

Headline: City grants Love Doctor sign variance, prepares for appeal
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: [See last fortnight's story] A man who runs a shop that sells quasi-sexy things will get to keep his larger than allowed sign.

Headline: Commission OKs expansion of William Mitchell campus
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: The law school on Summit Avenue will expand to include two houses.

Headline: Effort to extend I-94 sound wall falls short in Merriam Park
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: MNDOT does not think that a sound wall along the freeway near Merriam Park is cost effective, much to the disappointment of ten people who live there.

Headline: Statera switches gears, now plans move to larger space on Selby; Fitness center drops request to rezone former plumbing shop
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: A fitness center will move to a larger building on Selby Avenue [the "Jet Construction" building].

Headline: Revision of Shepard-Davern plan seeks to spur local development
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: The small area plan for the part of West 7th Street that's over by the airport will be revised. The original plan for the area was "spurred" by the proliferation of airport park and ride lots. [A true scourge.] There are some debates over having minimum lot sizes for residential developments, traditional neighborhood zoning, and whether or not to plan for a new park.

Headline: Short-handed zoning board is split over variance for front-yard garage
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: A man wants to build a garage in his front yard on Victoria Street but there weren't enough people at the meeting to decide whether or not to let him.

Headline: Grand gets new bakery and cafe
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: French Meadow is opening a location on Grand Avenue where Coffee News used to be.


Matt said...

Bill, have you seen any of the existing Shepard/Davern area plan? I'm very curious about that area as I think it has a lot of potential for some grid improvements. I'd be fascinated to hear what the actual plans/visions are.

Matt said...

And I answered my own question via Google!

I wish there was more of a vision for reclaiming West 7th as a street, future potential aBRT (or maybe even Riverview LRT), and maybe even directing highway traffic to Shepard instead of dumping it on West 7th.