East Moore Lake Drive
While only a tiny stretch in length (it only spans three blocks), E. Moore Lake Drive has serious girth. This section of road feels strangely disjointed from its bookends. West Moore Lake Drive and Rice Creek Road which extend to the west and east (respectively) are both 2-lane roads, while E. Moore Lake Drive is a 5-lane stretch that badly needs to be put on a road diet to improve safety, and at the same time, capture value.
There are many fine businesses nestled on this tiny stretch of road: Ax-Man Surplus, Dave’s Sport Shop, Fantasy Gifts (for the naughtier bunch :)), an Asian food market, a couple of restaurants, a day care center, a dentist… the list goes on. Fridley, being the “Suburban Hell” that it is, had little (or no) foresight into how people without automobiles would patronize these businesses – they simply assumed that it would never be the case.
You can see E. Moore Lake Drive at the bottom of this image, with its surrounding neighborhood to the north:
One major issue is with everything on the north side of E. Moore Lake Dr. There is no sidewalk on the north side of the street. It is not uncommon for me to see people walking in the street on the north side of E. Moore Lake Drive — especially between Moore Lake Commons and (Old) Central Ave. (the section marked incorrectly as Lisa Circle). Especially in winter, pedestrians have no other choice than to walk in the street. Did city planners ever imagine that anyone living in this block of land would maybe walk to these businesses?
For commuters, there’s a bus stop bench at the intersection of MN-65 & Moore Lake Drive (lower left blue icon in the above image). From this bench you can easily walk to any of the shops to escape freeway speed traffic, that is if you’re willing to walk through the drainage ditch to get there:
There’s no posted speed limit on this twisty section of Moore Lake Drive, so it’s confusing if the speed limit is 30MPH as posted on West Moore Lake Drive, or if it’s 35MPH as posted on Rice Creek Rd. after Moore Like Drive intersects (Old) Central Ave. Drivers often opt to go with the higher figure, which really becomes 40MPH.
There are no crosswalks on this stretch. Would you feel safe crossing a twisty 5-lane road with low visibility where there are no crosswalks and the cars are traveling at 40MPH? Why this road is so wide is beyond me. For what, traffic to Lifetime Fitness and Subway?
I would like to say at minimum, there should be a sidewalk on the north side of the street. But sidewalks are expensive, and it may take away from precious suburban parking spaces at Moore Lake Commons. So if you’re a penny-pinching city-planner you might just skip to the last paragraph about road diets. Paint is cheap!
The parking lots at all of the businesses along E. Moore Lake Drive – Lifetime, Brand Name Deals (now Salvation Army), Moore Lake Commons, Moore Lake Plaza- could be consolidated and reduced, provided there was a safe way to cross the street (crosswalks, less lanes, reduced speed).
For the road diet, E. Moore Lake Drive could be re-painted as a two lane road, but retain the turn lanes at the intersections. If you got rid of some of the parking lot area, you could allow on-street parking to make up for lost spaces. Add a bike lane and now it seems much more friendly for all modes of travel.