Monday, October 31, 2011


Happy Halloween! Happy, indeed, because those little trick or treaters are not tromping through snowbanks. [I should note that it is my obligation as a Minnesota resident to talk about the Halloween Blizzard of 1991 as if I expect it to happen every Halloween, and then to also talk about how relieved I am every year when it doesn't happen. This was front page news today. Seriously.] In actual news, this project really needs decent weather for another month. Or three.

I do like any day that allows adults to walk around in broad daylight dressed as a giant whoopie cushion. Yeah, you try not to laugh when you are in line behind that guy at the post office. Although, I have to say, 8 am was a little to early for this costume, which stared at me creepily on the 50 bus this morning:

Can we keep the masks to ourselves until after I have consumed some caffeine? Pleeease.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The night crews think I'm crazy

Tonight is a big night. Crews are out there putting the final layer of asphalt and striping down to make the next big traffic switch - putting cars back on both sides of University. Very exciting. And kind of smelly, actually. Not pleasant stuff, that hot asphalt...

Ah, the stink of progress.

Things that occurred to me as I walked the dog along University Avenue tonight:

1. Today, this project has officially shifted in my mind from being totally overwhelming to totally doable (ha - you can tell I'm at home and not at work).

2. Time to reopen my Emerald bus stop, Metro Transit. No more excuses AND I want the 8 bus back. I needs me my buses back.

3. I really need to dig some mittens out of storage. Like, yesterday.

4. The night crews think I'm crazy. Meh, what's new?

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Monday, October 24, 2011

Its former glory

Who wants a personal tour of the Union Depot construction? You do!

The headhouse - coming right along. I am still digging the yellow. As Heidi Klum says on Project Runway: "Loooooks expensive!"

Space between the headhouse and the concourse - "To Trains." That wall with the mural is coming down at some point.

Beautiful tiled ceilings.

Insert clock here.

Ah, the concourse. Approximately one million tedious restoration tasks to go...this makes me feel more hopeful about my petty home improvement projects! Maybe they aren't so daunting.

Looking back and up towards the 2nd floor - that blank arch will be knocked out and replaced with windows to the room above. Primo upstairs restaurant space, anyone?

Looking out the side door - the last remaining original staircase.

The train deck restoration, which seems to stretch to about the St. Croix River (give or take a few feet). Lowertown on the left.

The new building addition at the northern end of the deck.

Frieze about transportation in St. Paul. I think they could add a little LRV somewhere, right?

Testing the paint colors - more yellow to come!

Much thanks to Josh, our stellar tour guide :)

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Thursday, October 20, 2011

A sight for sore eyes

After a long day at work, and what seemed like an even longer bus ride home, I found a little beacon of hope. Actually two. The first trees to be planted on the new University Avenue.

Forget that it's cold and windy and they've already lost their leaves. Some days I feel like we're actually going to make it through this project. Thank god for that.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


Exciting news. I got a new iPhone this week. That means better blog photos and video for you all to enjoy :)

More exciting news. Construction on University is really hauling down the avenue. It seems like everyday there is some big noticeable progress. Commence photo barrage.

New curbs at 1919 (between Prior and Fairview)

Rail being installed just west of Raymond (blurring obviously due to quickly moving rail and speedster workers...not related to me being on the bus...nope.)

Track on the 280 bridge!

Press on!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Friday, October 14, 2011

Cedar Street Mine

I'm starting a new rumor: there's gold in Cedar Street! Or so it appears from the mine they have constructed.

Looking into the abyss, from skyway level

I hope they don't use explosives down there to shake the gold loose - they have some sensitive neighbors (MPR).

On a more serious note, today is a day of mourning. The snow plowing stakes have been put in on downtown curbs. Nooooooo! I'm so not ready for snow...

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Monday, October 10, 2011

Construction vs. Mother Nature

Creeping into mid-October, we're going to need some exceptional weather to pull off everything that needs to get done by December 1. And so far, we've gotten exactly that (ding! Round 1 goes to construction.)

So I was a little alarmed to see this today on the 280 bridge:

That red box on wheels reads: "Ground heater E3000. Thaw frozen ground. Cure concrete. Heat air." With another 75 degree day today, here's hoping that they won't have to fire up that sucker for a long time. Global warming, don't fail us now!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Thursday, October 6, 2011

The Harsh Truth

I spend a lot of time and moo-la buying food in the Central Corridor. So I am happy to see all the articles and foodie blogs encouraging people to do the same, especially during construction. But I had an bad experience today that made me a bit frustrated with the whole scene. Here's my advice: Come to the corridor. Spend heaps of money. But please don't give us your sympathy eats.

And by that I mean, don't just shovel down food and smile because you feel sorry for these businesses. Do it because you cherish them, and because so many of them are ridiculously good - some of the best in the Twin Cities.

So I'm a horrible person, I know. But here's the problem. Say you go to a certifiably amazing restaurant, like Homi or Little Szechuan or Hoa Bien or Maison Darras. You jump right onto Facebook, Yelp, UrbanSpoon, Twitter, etc. and proclaim to the world that you have in fact discovered the Central Corridor, and it is freaking delicious.

Then you read on those sites that someone else had lunch at another place that needs your support. What is this great place you've never tried? You must go there immediately and support that business, too! Except, at this other place - waaaah wah - the food sucks. The service is terrible. You hate the Central Corridor. How could someone have recommended this awful food? You never want to see University Avenue again. Or Saint Paul. You retreat to Eden Prairie and eat Lunchables in your car.

And so it goes. Now what if you had gone there first, and never found the really good stuff? We've put all restaurants on a even playing field during construction. Save the restaurants! The good, the bad, and the yucky! I admit I've been to new restaurants since construction started - ones I had never eaten at before and hopefully will never eat at again. And while that is the harsh truth, I feel like it's time to throw down. Impress me with your food first. Toss in some decent service and I'm yours for life. Being on the corridor is just not going to cut it for me, cause I need to eat well, even during construction.

So back to my bad day. I ordered a sandy from a restaurant that has been hurting from construction.* Actually, I ordered it 4 times, like I was in some sort of SNL skit or involuntary game of telephone. I think it went something like this.

"I'll try the chicken salad sandwich."

"Ok [writing it down]. You want a purple piano banana bingo salad, riiight?"

"Uh. No, I just wanted a chicken salad sandwich - no tomato."

"Oooook. Soooo, that's actually a sandwich. Not a salad. You want the salad?"

"No. I want the bread-shaped thing. A chicken salad sandwich. For the love of God."

$7.35 later, I had 3 chunks of chicken rolled in mayo and placed on the world's smallest ciabatta. With tomatoes. So, yep, that's the very last of my sympathy eats. Demand greatness, people. It's out there to be found.

*I know better, which is what makes me so mad about this situation. Maison Darras has the best chicken salad on the planet and I should never ever stray!