Feb. 19, 2021
Big Changes Under Consideration for Route 3
Metro Transit is studying significant alterations along Route 3, including in Como, that could be a done deal by the end of summer. Among changes proposed as part of the “Better Bus Routes” initiative: Eliminating some bus stops to reduce travel time (but, of course, increase walking time). More than two dozen of the stops scheduled for elimination are in Como:

  • On Route 3A: eastbound and westbound stops at Como/Horton and Lexington; the eastbound stop at Van Slyke and Como; the westbound stop at Chatsworth and West Como Blvd.; eastbound and westbound stops at Como Ave. and Ryde, and at Como Ave. and Milton; the westbound stop at East Como Blvd. across from Rose; and the eastbound and westbound stops at Maryland and St. Albans.
  • On Route 3B: the eastbound and westbound stops at Energy Park Drive and the Snelling access ramp; the eastbound and westbound stops at Energy Park Drive near Energy Lane, and at Energy Park Drive near Bandana Blvd. E; the eastbound stop at Energy Park Drive at Lexington; and the eastbound and westbound stops at Front and Oxford, Front and Ryde, Front and Avon, and Front and St. Albans.

Other changes that are part of the initiative:

  • Relocating some stops to the far side of stoplights, to reduce delays. None of these are in Como.
  • Installing concrete pads and shelters at selected stops, to improve accessibility and rider comfort. (Metro Transit has not publicly announced which stops will be upgraded.)
  • Adjusting the route alignment and schedule, though none of the proposed changes are in Como.
  • Expanding the no-parking zone around some bus stops.

These changes would happen whether or not Route 3 gets upgraded to high-frequency Bus Rapid Transit sometime after 2025. Once you read more details of the proposed changes (or watch a 2-minute video of highlights), you can take this survey to offer feedback.

Schedule changes coming: Metro Transit plans its usual quarterly schedule changes beginning Saturday March 13. Locally, these changes affect Route 61.
Photo: This bus stop at Front and Oxford is among those
scheduled to be eliminated along Routes 3A and 3B in Como.
Como Kindness Comes Through
During the coldest weekend of the season, Como residents showed they don’t take warmth for granted. Individuals, families, church groups, and others responded to the Como Community Council’s call: They nearly filled a U-Haul with gloves, mittens, socks, blankets, quilts, hats, scarves, sweaters, coats, and other winter gear. All the gear is going to temporary homeless shelters being run by Ramsey County for residents previously living on the streets. More than 20 volunteers stood out in the below-zero cold to collect contributions. Ward 5 Councilmember Amy Brendmoen picked up the tab for the truck (out of her own pocket, we should point out).

Plus, the Como Community Council collected more than $2,600 in cash donations from more than 50 local residents. Those funds will help Ramsey County’s Housing Stability program provide additional supplies to meet the needs of neighbors who do not have a home they can call their own.
Caption: Volunteers Joanne Swanson and Annie Huidekoper
wrangle with some of the donations from Como residents.
Something to Sink Your Teeth Into
The Como Community Seed Library’s next Cyber Seed Crawl is this Saturday, Feb. 20, from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. It focuses on urban edibles: fruit, vegetables, herbs, medicinals. Get all the details and advice on how to find seeds and make a swap at your convenience.

Speaking of eating what you grow: North Dale Recreation Center is hosting Introduction to Vegetable Gardening. The online gardening class for adults is Saturday March 13 at 10 a.m.
The Next Stop Toward Your Vaccine
Minnesota is launching Vaccine Connector, an online tool that lets residents register to find out when, where, and how to get vaccinated against Covid-19. Once you register, you’ll be notified when you are eligible to be vaccinated, when there are vaccines available near you, and how to schedule a vaccine appointment.

Demand for vaccines continues to exceed supply, so only certain workers and residents can get vaccinated now. But any resident can sign up now; the Connector will keep track as supplies and availability increase, then update you when your opportunity comes.
You'll Be Able to Vote from Home Again
At its monthly meeting Feb. 16, the Como Community Council board:

  • Set up timelines so community members can vote at home using a mail or electronic ballot for the April 2021 District 10 board elections. Under the community council’s bylaws, 9 of the 17 board seats will be up for election on April 20; stay tuned for details on how you can become a candidate and how you can vote.
  • Approved 2021 work plans under the Community Engagement and Innovation grants from Saint Paul.
  • Approved a letter urging Minnesota to adopt the proposed Clean Cars initiative, intended to encourage more electric vehicle options for Minnesota drivers.

Read more details about actions the board took at its February meeting.

Join the discussion this week: The Como Community Council's Anti-Racism Work Group gathers online this Wednesday, Feb. 24, at 7 p.m. All renters, homeowners, and other District 10 community members are welcome to participate. To get access information to the meeting, email the District 10 office before 6 p.m. Wednesday.
Meal Kits Return Next 2 Fridays
The Como Community Council and Sanneh Foundation again will distribute free meal boxes today, Friday Feb. 19, and next Friday, Feb. 26. The meal boxes are available to Ramsey County residents dealing with financial hardships because of Covid-19.

Details: We'll distribute the meal boxes in the north parking lot of Niem Phat Buddhist Temple, at Dale and Front. Distribution will be 1:30-3:30 p.m. (or until supplies run out). Reservations are highly recommended; to reserve your box, fill out this form before noon on distribution day. The boxes provide ingredients and recipes for two meals intended to serve six. Ingredients typically include locally sourced proteins, grains, fresh produce, and spices.

Free food will also be available:
  • This Saturday, Feb. 20, beginning at 11 a.m. until supplies run out, at IBEW Local 110, 1330 Conway St.
  • This Thursday, Feb. 25, 10 a.m.-noon, at Compeer Arena on the State Fairgrounds. Preregistration is required through Keystone Services.
Great River School Announces Camp Line-Up
Great River School, the Montessori charter school in Energy Park, is planning half-day summer camps for youth ages 4-16, and full-day camps for youth ages 7-16. The camps are open to anyone in the community.

More than three dozen camps are on the schedule, if we count correctly. Subjects include art, archery, bookmaking, construction with cardboard, cooking, cosmetology, crafts, games, mountain biking, outdoor exploration and adventure, robotics, swimming, theater, and Ultimate. Look up details and schedules; fees are discounted by $25 if you register before March 19.
Interested in STAR Funding?
Saint Paul is accepting applications for loans and grants under the city’s Neighborhood STAR program. Funding, which comes from a portion of sales taxes collected in the city, is available to public, private, and nonprofit organizations for “permanent” physical projects with an expected life of at least seven years. The neighborhood-based projects can include housing and commercial rehabilitation, economic development investments, streetscape or parks projects, and creative placemaking. Typically, a minimum 50-50 dollar match is required. Applications are due by Wednesday March 24 at 4 p.m.

Speaking of funding: Saint Paul is also accepting applications from community organizations for federal Community Development Block Grant funding. The funding typically supports work for housing, economic development, and quality-of-life projects focused on low- and moderate-income residents. The application deadline is Friday March 19 at 5 p.m.

What defines a family? On Wednesday March 3, City Council holds a public hearing on the proposed redefinition of “family” in the city zoning code. You can submit comments by email or by leaving a voicemail at 651-266-6805.
In a summer frame of mind? With the polar vortex retreating, it’s perfect timing to tell you that Municipal Athletics’ softball and baseball cages are open at Rice and Arlington. Reservations and pandemic precautions are required. Also, softball league registration is open now for returning teams, and opens this Monday, Feb. 22, for new teams.

Neighborhood issues of note:
  • K&L Sales: The second-hand dealer’s license for this used-car lot at Como and Arona is up for renewal on March 29. Anyone with concerns should email District 10 or contact the office of Ward 4 Council Member Mitra Jalali.
  • H&M Auto Body: The auto repair and paint shop licenses for this body shop at 867 Dale are up for renewal on April 18. Anyone with concerns should email District 10 or contact the office of Ward 1 Council Member Dai Thao.
  • Como Park Golf Course: The liquor, Sunday liquor, and entertainment licenses are up for renewal on April 18. Anyone with concerns should email District 10 or contact the office of Ward 4 Council Member Mitra Jalali.
Plenty of Screen Time Available
  • This Saturday, Feb. 20: Pruning Trees and Shrubs, 10-11:30 a.m. Presented by Ramsey County Master Gardeners. Register for the free online session no later than today, Friday Feb. 19.
  • This Saturday, Feb. 20: Freight Rail in My Neighborhood: "Creating Family and Community Preparedness Plans to Address Rail Hazards in Our Communities," 1-3 p.m. Sponsored by University of Minnesota School of Public Health and Citizens Acting for Rail Safety/Twin Cities. Free. Join using Zoom or by phone (651-372-8299). Meeting ID: 989 2619 0664
  • This Sunday, Feb. 21: Sensory Friendly Morning, 9-10 a.m. Como Park Zoo and Conservatory. A dedicated time when individuals on the autism spectrum (and their families) can enjoy activities without the usual sensory overload. Admission is free but attendance is limited; advance registration is required.
  • This Tuesday, Feb. 23: Renter Rights and Responsibilities, 6-7 p.m. Free panel discussion sponsored by the District 9 district council. Register in advance
  • This Tuesday, Feb. 23: Civics in Our Schools: What’s Going On? 7-8 p.m. The League of Women Voters of Saint Paul hosts this free panel discussion. Get details, including how to sign up through Zoom or watch a livestream on Facebook.
  • Next Sunday, Feb. 28: Deadline to apply for Right Track, Saint Paul’s summer internship program for youth ages 14-21 who live in a cost-burdened household or have another barrier to employment.
  • Sunday March 7: Como Park Lutheran Church hosts a drive-through food drive to help restock Keystone Services, 12:30-2:30 p.m. Donations of non-perishables, cash or checks (payable to Keystone Services) will be collected in the church parking lot at Hoyt and Hamline. 
Coronavirus Testing Still Available
Here’s a rundown of testing options if you suspect you have been exposed to coronavirus:

Home testing. The state is partnering with Vault Medical Services to provide free saliva test kits that residents can use at home.

Every day. Free saliva testing at Roy Wilkins Auditorium; enter at 175 Kellogg Blvd. The site is open seven days a week: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. weekdays; 10 a.m.-4 p.m. weekends. Register in advance (Free saliva testing is also available at Minneapolis Saint Paul International Airport, the Minneapolis Convention Center, and other sites in the state.)

Ongoing. To find additional, private testing locations in Saint Paul or nearby, use the state Department of Health's interactive map. These locations (including Allina Health’s clinics in Bandana Square) are a mix of community clinics, health system clinics, and pharmacies. They might not be free, and they might offer testing only in certain situations.
Tips on Not Getting Scammed
Saint Paul Police offer a free fraud workshop this Wednesday, Feb. 24, at 6 p.m. The online workshop focuses on common scams, ways to protect your information, and what to do if you are scammed. Register

Spread the word
You are receiving this email because you expressed interest in District 10 activities.

District 10 is one of Saint Paul's 17 citizen participation districts. The District 10 Como Community Council is a nonprofit organization, governed by a volunteer Board of Directors who are elected directly by members of the community. As a district council, we work to improve and enjoy life where we live. We provide the glue behind neighborhood action, and combine the voices of renters, homeowners, businesses, and nonprofits who want to accomplish things.