Before I get into any questions like “What the heck is a split phase intersection and why would you have a favorite?” Let me give you some back-story… I’ve been attending a series of workshops revolving around State Highways 65 & 47.

I’ve got several opinions about these roads and their intersections, and one very loud opinion that we don’t need both to act as expressways, we just need one.

Luckily, I learned at the meetings that my fellow residents share the same opinions! I was delighted at the first two meetings. Do I think MnDOT will actually listen? Probably not, but that’s when we’ll sick Mayor Lund on them ūüźē

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Let’s take a moment and look at two political philosophies and how they can even be applied to something as simple and mundane as a¬†road (re)design. It may seem like somewhat of a reach, but stay with me for a story of regulation vs. self-regulation.

In Finance

Alan Greenspan himself did not foresee the housing crash coming. His mantra had always been that the market should (and will) self-regulate. He may have, at one point during the crisis, re-considered his libertarian ideals, as the situation left him “in a state of shocked disbelief.”

I saw Alan Greenspan on Charlie Rose (relevant conversation at 51:16)¬†where he discussed the 2008 mortgage crisis.¬†I suspect that in the aftermath he did some research going backwards to see what could have been done to prevent it.¬†He mentioned a change at the NYSE in 1970 that allowed broker-dealers to become incorporated. Prior to this, broker-dealers were required to be partnerships where all partners had “skin in the game.”

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I’m excited about the prospects of a safer Osborne Rd. For the record I am for the 3 lane conversion the most of the proposed options. If the county were to mill and overlay tomorrow, this is a great low/no cost way to drastically increase safety and accessibility.

However, I feel this particular study does not draw from other cities past experience well enough. At the study meeting it was mentioned that the city of Crystal lamented that they did not do the 3 lane option for the full length of the roadway. I see the same sort of trepidation here.

Road Speed

Why not lower the speed limit to 30MPH? Residents in attendance at the meeting were obviously concerned about the speed as they’re asking for more enforcement. The real answer to enforcement is self-enforcement and the road diet would provide that. But why not lower the speed limit to 30? The odds of a pedestrian fatality at 40MPH is two times of that at 30MPH – and lets face it, travelers on a 35MPH road are going to be driving 40MPH.

36th Ave in New Hope
36th Ave in New Hope

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No I don’t mean rename it, Fridley already has a Main St. which was probably named because of its proximity to the railroad.¬† But if you look at Mississippi St., it truly has the potential to be the main street of Fridley.

Located on it are: city hall, the police and fire department, Fridley’s library, the Fridley Historical Society museum, Hayes Elementary School, several churches, and a few home-based businesses.

Now the bad news: this STROAD is too fast and too wide to provide any value to the businesses and residents on or near it.  It is home to a dumpy strip-mall which is almost impossible to get to as a pedestrian. Mississippi St. could easily go on a road diet.

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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.

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