Reading the Highland Villager #140

[Highland Villager: Special Boomer Edition, comes with free parking protest flier.]
[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: Opposition grows over city's plan for parking meters on Grand Avenue
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: Article begins "time may be running out for those who are opposed to installing parking meters..." [which is kind of witty; if only they had a way to "buy" more time somehow, in small flexible increments]. There might be a vote on the 21st. There are signs and there was a meeting where "city officials were booed and hissed at times." [I like how in Minneapolis, they're having a big public push and debate over whether to have "fair scheduling," a $15/hour minimum wage, and paid sick leave for low-wage workers; and in Saint Paul, we have people hissing at parking meters.] Neighborhood groups are concerned about a lack of process. "A petition in support of the meters had 37 signatures." Quote from city official saying, "for 35 years we've looked at parking issues on Grand," and "there is no free parking; everyone who benefits from parking should pay for it." [I imagine myself going to tonight's public meeting with a sign saying, "THIS WHOLE CONVERSATION IS IDIOTIC," and to have folks come up to me thinking I'm agreeing them, only I'm not. Actually my sign would simply say: "PARKING METERS MAKE CENTS".] Most bizarre quote: "Others say they sometimes make multiple trips to Grand to shop in a single day and having to plug meter after meter would be a hassle." [There's an app for that. No, I'm serious; there is.] Mentioned in the very last paragraph: the city is extending hours and raising "event" prices for meters downtown. [The only silver lining of the Grand situation is that nobody is paying attention to the meters downtown, which are much more important. Also, the one talking point that I'm surprised I've never seen: the high cost of enforcement of existing parking rules on Grand. Parking meters were initially invented to make enforcement of time restrictions easier for cops. That's exactly what they'd be doing here.]

Headline: Other merchants also oppose parking meters
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: [I can't even read this one. I'm telling my eyes to look at the page, commanding them with my brain to identify the letters and form them into words, but nothing seems to be working. I can't do it. They will not respond. I think I've reached some critical limit case of automobile intransigence. They just look like shapes, little black specks on the white page, the vague word BANK floating in a speckled sea of newsprint.]

Headline: Glut of recent street projects drives St. Paul to rethink process
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: A lot of streets were and are under construction. Road construction planning might be rolled into the existing CIB process. Last year the mayor's office approved an emergency reconstruction plan for 20 arterial streets.  [That money came from the residential street fund, so neighborhoods are upset about that, IIRC.] Best quote: "The city has switched from using pea gravel and bituminous material to granite chips, which hold up longer." Time keeps on passing. Temporary repairs are time consuming and don't solve the problem. [Things fall apart. People are upset when roads aren't fixed; people are upset when roads are fixed; the earth spins ever on its axis; sic transit gloria.]

Headline: Property taxes on the rise in St. Paul; West End, downtown may see steepest increases
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: Taxes will rise for some people, particularly those with money: schools, county, and city.

Headline: Randolph road work resumes in 2016; $7M project moves east of Syndicate St.
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: Even before construction on Randolph is done this year, the county is "already planning" construction on Randolph for next year. [The gall!] Some property owners are replacing their sewer pipes. There will be safer pedestrian ramps. The intersection at Lexington won't be widened, but a bus stop will be moved farther away [from the corner, where people want to go] and a turn lane will be added. Best quote: "long-buried remnants of the Randoph Avenue streetcar line will be unearthed along with the old brick pavers." Neighbors are concerned about traffic. Everything costs money.

Headline: Variance allows reuse of historic stone house
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: And old building made of limestone from the 1850s will be preserved, protected, and turned into a place serving beer.

Headline: Street sweeping begins, which means plowing is close behind
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: Time keeps on ticking, ticking, ticking, into the future.

Headline: St. Paul police gear up for trial run of body cameras
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: Some cops will wear tiny cameras on their shirts.

Headline: Cleveland Ave. still in running for a north-south bike route
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: [A task force, which I am on, which was formed to determine where the ideal route for a North-South bike route in the city's Southwestern quadrant should be, has been meeting.] There will be an "open house." Neighbors are concerned about traffic and parking.

Headline: Council approves funding to repair Irvine Avenue wall
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: The city wil spend $800K to fix a retaining wall on Ramsey Hill.

Headline: St. Paul Public Schools prepares next Facilities Master Plan; District's most pressing space need appears to be middle schools
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: Saint Paul schools need more money for their buildings. They are at 95% capacity.

Headline: City may lift limits on on-sale liquor licenses
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: There has long been a limit on the number of restaurants in the "western third of Saint Paul" that could serve booze. Ward 4 only has 16; there will be a lottery. Because Champp's closed in Ward 3, which only has 7 licenses, lots of other businesses are clamoring to get their hands on it. CMs Tolbert and Stark would like to see restrictions eased. Apparently nobody is really upset about the idea.There's also a 60/40 rule on the books that some restaurants would like to see changed. [As long as Tommies are banned from all of these places, everything should be fine.]

Headline: St. Thomas drafting new master plan
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: The University of St. Thomas is going to plan "every square foot of space on both campuses." Neighbors are concerned about traffic and parking.

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