I have the privilege of living walking distance from a bus route that has served me well for most of my time spent in the Twin Cities: The 10. When I was a kid growing up in Northeast Minneapolis, my dad would take me to Twins games downtown on the 10. Now in Fridley, I can still take it to any number of businesses along Central Ave. I can also head downtown and make any number of connections. The 10 runs late into the night, so I can even take it home after a long night of imbibing.
However, my closest bus stop (Central Ave. & Gardena Ave. by Moore Lake Beach) is a pedestrian SNAFU, no thanks in part to Fridley’s city planners.
You’d think that with an elementary school & high school just 2 blocks to the east of this intersection, the city would have provided a safe walking path down to the beach at Moore Lake Park – not the case.
If you are walking down Gardena Ave. (westbound), you must walk in the turn lane before getting to the crosswalk. Not exactly fun if you have a baby in a stroller or if you value your own life.
There is an additional problem for 10N passengers if they wish to disembark at this intersection. The northbound 10N’s stop is actually just before Gardena Ave. (map marker “A”). This is actually in a turn lane on Central Ave. for cars going eastbound on Gardena Ave. Pedestrians also wishing to go eastbound on Gardena Ave. can either walk in the yards (no sidewalk is provided) or walk in the turn lane. In the winter, walking in the turn lane is really the only option. Good luck when it’s dark out, it will be like a real-life game of Frogger.
I’m not asking the city to add sidewalks – I don’t think that battle can be won at this time. I’m just asking for pedestrians and cyclist to be given some respect. This intersection has far too much automotive treatment.
Replace right turn lanes with normal shoulder treatment
Removing the right turns lanes would solve a lot. Just leave the shoulders painted normally all the way up to the intersection so that cars turning right understand that this is “shared space” and that they are not the priority. A good example of this would be the intersection just to the north at Central Ave. & Hillcrest Dr.:
I would remove the right turn lane on Old Central Ave. to Gardena Ave. All you need to do is “erase” the turnout line on the road to reconnect it as a normal shoulder line, and then remove the right turn signs. Residents can put their garbage cans in the street on trash day and pedestrians and cyclists can use the space without fear that they’ll be hit from behind. A side benefit will be that speeding cars will be self-regulated by cars slowing to turn right.
On Gardena Ave. I would also remove the explicit right turn lane and restore normal shoulder painting. Remove the “Straight & Left” arrow from the lane as well and let drivers figure out where they should be going – keeping drivers on their toes will make them more cautious, creating a safer environment for everyone.