The intersection of Fireside Drive NE and Minnesota Highway 65 in Fridley has seen at least two significant crashes in the last four months:
- April 10 from injuries sustained in a March 31, 2012, crash. , Allard was attempting to cross Highway 65 westbound at Fireside Drive NE when his motorcycle hit a northbound van. Several witnesses said Allard's view of the van may have been blocked by a vehicle turning right onto Fireside Drive.
- exiting the manufactured-home park on July 16 on Fireside Drive went into the path of a truck heading south on Highway 65. The collision sent the larger vehicle tumbling on the highway. Neither driver was seriously injured.
How common are crashes at Fireside and 65? Here is the state's tally of crashes at the intersection from 2005 to 2011:
Crash Data for Highway 65 and Fireside Drive NE, FridleyYear(s) Serious injuries Minor injuries Property damage only 2011 2 1 2010 2 2009 1 3 2 2005–08 3 4
The Minnesota Department of Transportation crash tally for Fireside Drive and Highway 65 does not put the intersection on the agency's list of the 200 crossing with the most crashes, according to MnDOT Metro Distict Director of Communications TK Kramascz.
The crashes that do occur there show a pattern, Kramascz said: Among the 11 crashes from 2009–11, 10 involved vehicles making left turns or through-movements across the highway at the intersection.
Design Change Possible
It is currenlty an uncontrolled intersection of a divided state highway and a city street, with a median opening for crossover traffic. Kramascz said the agency would be open to the idea of closing the median crossover and changing the intersection design to "right-in/right-out" to cut down on crashes there.
That would mean drivers who now make left turns onto or from Fireside Drive would have to go south to 73rd Avenue NE or north to Osborne Road NE and do a U-turn instead.
About a dozen miles north on Highway 65, MnDOT has built "J-turns" a short distance from intersections without traffic signals to provide a "safer geometric angle" for easier U-turns, Kramascz said.
MnDOT engineers would conduct traffic count studies if the City of Fridley were to request such a change. Often, Kramascz said, nearby residents and business owners object to closing median crossovers like the one at Fireside Drive.