Categorized | IN OUR COMMUNITY

Como Community Council Corner

Posted on 06 February 2018 by Calvin

By MICHAEL KUCHTA, Executive Director

How much state fair history do you remember?
The ongoing history of the Minnesota State Fair kicks off District 10’s 2018 Sunday Series on Feb. 25. State Fair director Jerry Hammer picks up where he left off last year: He’ll share forgotten photos, facts, and stories about the Fair from the last 100 years or so—from 1920 until today.

The free presentation is Feb. 25, 1-2:30pm, in the Newman-Benson Chapel at Lyngblomsten, 1415 Almond Ave.

You can also put these upcoming Sunday Series presentations on your calendar:
• The Next Step: Pedestrian Safety in St. Paul. Drivers continue to run into pedestrians in higher and higher numbers. What will it take to stop that? Fay Simer, the city’s new pedestrian safety advocate, and Sgt. Jeremy Ellison, who leads enforcement efforts in the citywide Stop for Me campaign, lead the discussion. The free presentation is Sun., Mar. 18 from 1-2:30pm.
• Crime Prevention through Landscape Design. Patty Lammers, crime prevention coordinator for the St. Paul Police, gives great advice about where to plant, where not to plant, and what to plant to make yourself, your family and your home safer. The free presentation is Sun., Apr. 15, 1-2:30pm.

O’Reilly negotiates to run Lakeside Pavilion
A team led by veteran Twin Cities restaurateur Matty O’Reilly is in line to take over management of the Como Lakeside Pavilion. O’Reilly proposes to open “Spring Café” in the space previously occupied by Como Dockside and Black Bear Crossings. He is now negotiating lease and management details. City officials continue to project an April start date.

O’Reilly is familiar with the Como neighborhood: he opened Delicata, 1341 Pascal St., in summer 2017. He also is familiar with running a restaurant on park property: he operates the seasonal Red River Kitchen at City House, creatively using a food truck to revitalize a converted barge terminal on St. Paul’s Upper Landing. O’Reilly and his team also operate Republic in Minneapolis’ Dinkytown, and Bar Brigade in St. Paul’s Highland Park neighborhood.

Crime in Como dropped in 2017
Overall crime decreased 4.7 percent in Como in 2017, according to preliminary police data analyzed by District 10. Vandalism, burglaries, and thefts all were down, and there was no increase in assaults. Most notably, the neighborhood saw a sharp drop in auto thefts.

Illustration right: Reported crimes for 2015-2016-2017 in the 12 area grids that make up Como Dist 10. Combined, the area showed a 4.7% decrease in crime.

However, robberies and rapes increased. And, as was the case citywide, reports of gunshots also continued to increase, though not nearly as rapidly as in 2016.

You can find charts and more details on the District 10 website: www.district10comopark.org. The site includes breakdowns on how much crime there was in the individual police “grids” in different parts of the neighborhood.

Looking for relief from State Fair crowds
The Como Community Council is launching a wide-ranging review of possible changes to parking, traffic, and city enforcement activities during the Minnesota State Fair.

The District 10 board approved six areas of action at its Jan. 16 meeting. The district council’s Land Use committee developed the proposals, which are intended to study and limit the impact that State Fair traffic and activities have on the neighborhood.

Exploring the changes would include public meetings and surveys. The review also will require talking with and partnering with neighborhood residents, city staff and elected officials, State Fair management, and a variety of businesses, schools, and other institutions. The proposals would:
• Work with institutions and businesses in and near the neighborhood to make their unused parking lots available as shuttle lots or off-street parking, especially on weekends during the Fair. A survey taken during the 2017 Fair indicates there could be more than 3,000 unused parking spaces available.
• Explore expanding the number of neighborhood streets in which parking is restricted to one side during the Fair. Streets to be considered are those west of Victoria between Larpenteur and Nebraska, and those between Lexington and E. Como Blvd., south of the lake and north of the railroad tracks. Currently, parking is restricted to one side of streets during the Fair in a many other parts of the neighborhood, primarily from Hoyt south and from Chelsea west.
• Explore expanding the existing Parking Overlay District to add all blocks between Hamline, Lexington, Arlington, and Larpenteur. This would allow homeowners to use their lawns for parking during the 12 days of the Fair. The current Overlay District extends roughly from Hoyt on the north, Chelsea on the east, Wynne on the south, and Winston on the west.
• Explore a wide range of traffic-calming tactics on residential streets during the Fair, including temporary speed reductions, speed bumps, barrels, stop signs, and other measures.
• Work with the City of St. Paul to implement universal and reliable enforcement of violations during the Fair, including vending, peddling, and parking.
• Clarify what types of signs and advertising residents, businesses, and institutions can use to promote off-street parking during the Fair.

You can find more details on the District 10 website: www.district10comopark.org.

Board supports 4 of 5 projects
The District 10 Como Community Council voted Jan. 16 to support four of the five infrastructure projects that St. Paul is proposing for the intersection of Como, Front, and Dale. The projects are part of a $350,000 Commercial Vitality Zone initiative that the City Council authorized in 2015.

The District 10 board voted to support:
• Painting higher-visibility crosswalks in all current locations, and painting stop bars ahead of the crosswalks, in hopes of discouraging drivers from encroaching on the crosswalks
• Painting green lane extensions across the intersection for the Como Ave. bike lanes
• Installing landscaping
• Moving the bus stop on northbound Dale from in front of the strip mall to the south side of the intersection (in front of John’s Pizza Café)

The board did not support a proposal to eliminate the dedicated right-turn lane from southbound Como to westbound Front. That proposal would replace the lane by expanding the existing pedestrian island and shortening the crosswalk on Como.

The board’s actions came after it conducted an online survey that received more than 525 responses. Details of the survey results and the proposed infrastructure projects can be found on the District 10 website: www.district10comopark.org.

Upcoming District 10 meetings
• Como Community Council Monthly Meeting: Tues., Feb. 20
• Environment Committee: Wed., Feb. 28
• Neighborhood Relations and Safety Committee: Tues., March 6
• Land Use Committee: Wed., March 7

All meetings begin at 7pm at the Como Park Streetcar Station, which is at the northeast corner of Lexington and Horton. Community members are always welcome to attend and participate. Whenever possible, agendas are posted in advance in the “Board News” section of District 10’s website.