Reading the Highland Villager #122

[Email or tweet me your photos of the Villager inaction.]
[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. Until this newspaper goes online, sidewalk information must be set free.]

Headline:  Ramsey County lobbies for new roads, more social services in '15; County also supports effort to expand shelter for homeless in St. Paul
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: The county is lobbying the state legislature for money for the following projects: $6.5M for roads around the Twin Cities Ammunition Plant potential development site in Arden Hills, and something for the old Dorothy Day center downtown. [This is just another lesson in how sprawl is subsidized, though there is some hope that the TCAAP site could be somewhat walkable. Also, it's infill compared to something like Rogers or Elko.] They are also asking that counties (in addition to cities) be required to give consent to MNDOT road projects. [I wonder if that would make city consent more or less influential?]

Headline: Funds to replace 3rd Street bridge, build $23.3M facility at Crosby Park top St. Paul's 2015 legislative agenda
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: The city is lobbying the state legislature for money to replace the 3rd Street/Kellogg bridge which was revealed to be falling apart this year. They are asking for $40M. Article includes quote from CM Lantry about needing "investments in infrastructure." Article also says "mass transit planned for the St. Paul span make merely rehabilitating it unworkable, according to the city's Public Works Department. [I kinda buy that. Gateway is pretty close in the CTIB queue, no matter its merits as transit.] They're also asking for $20M for an educational and recreational facility in Crosby Park, down by the river. [Personally, I think the downtown bike loop is an ideal candidate for state legislature money, as it would connect the Capitol, History Center, Children's Museum, Ordway, etc. all around downtown Saint Paul, which seems like a project of state-wide significance. I wonder if the city considered that?] The wish list also includes $15M for Como Zoo, and $3M for an American Indian cultural center at Bruce Vento Nature Sanctuary. [Called "wakan tipi" in the Dakota language. See my radio story on it here.]

Headline: Local projects vie for a slice of St. Paul's CIB funding pie
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: The city's capitol improvement budget process is underway, including the aforementioned 3rd/Kellogg bridge. [It always seems dumb to me that neighborhood, library, and bike investments have to fight with things like bridges that are falling down. It's like asking, "which is cuter, puppies or kittens?" And then saying, "O MY GOD A BEAR IS ABOUT TO EAT YOU!" ] Highland is asking for artificial turf and streetscape improvements at a West 7th strip mall. [See also all the zoning shenanigans with this site in previous Villagers.] Mac-Grove is asking for ped safety improvements by Grand and Ayd Mill Road. [I have a great idea for improving ped safety there that would more than pay for itself in property tax revenue overnight.] Union Park is asking for bike infrastructure by Pelham Boulevard, better streetcape by Snelby, skate parks, and a bike connection along Ayd Mill Road. [I have a great idea for a bike connection along Ayd Mill Road that would more than pay for itself in property tax revenue overnight.] Downtown is asking for mostly money for parks. The high bridge re-decking project will also need city money if its to include "sidewalks or above-standard street lighting. [Shouldn't MNDOT pay for quality sidewalks in cities? Lord knows they spend a lot of money on exurban onramps and anti-pedestrian guardrails in Anoka County.]

Headline: City's new district council grants fail to go way of HDC
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: Highland's neighborhood group did not get the money as part of a new program intended to increase community engagement. [Hm. I wonder why? Can't think of any reasons.] Article says that the projects have to involve more than one district council. Highland wanted to host music events. Other neighborhood groups want to do professional development or improve relations with city departments. [I think neighborhood groups need money to help them with renter outreach.]

Headline: City Council sets hearings on Shepard-Davern Plan, zoning
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: Re-zoning and small area plans for the part of West 7th street with all the strip malls, drive-thrus, and apartments by the river will go before the city council. A strip mall will not be rezoned to be more walkable. [See above.]

Headline: West end group hosts meeting to address rise in panhandling
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: Poor people are asking for money. There are "homeless camps."

Headline: BZA to discuss variance for expanded Palace Rec Center
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: A rec center is being expanded [after many years of delay]. It needs setback variances.

Headline: Plan for finally connecting Ayd Mill Road to I-94 is in the offing
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: [See previous post on this article and/or the timeline from a local neighborhood group. IMO I doubt that Nancy Homans said anything about this project that hasn't been said before by the city, and kind of feel that the Villager is making this out to be a bigger story than it actually is. That feels a bit dishonest, but I wasn't there and didn't hear what Homans said to McClure. I have a lot more thoughts on this topic, so stay tuned.]

Headline: Third time may be the charm for redecking the Highway 5 bridge
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: A freeway bridge [that runs smack into the middle of a theoretically walkable neighborhood -- see above -- with lots of poor people] will finally hopefully get a winning bid for its redecking. It will cost somewhere around $15M.

No comments: