(LEXINGTON) – Joe Ackerman knows his house is close to the road and he knows that more construction in the surrounding communities of Lexington, Circle Pines, Blaine, and Lino Lakes mean more cars will take Lovell Road less than a third of a football field away from his front door.
“There’s not much you can do about that,” said Ackerman, who moved to his home with his wife about two years ago. “But the speeding is out of control.”
Lovell Road connects Lexington Avenue (near its intersection with Lake Drive) and 95th Avenue NE in Blaine near its intersection with Interstate 35W. The posted speed limit on Lovell is 35 miles per hour.
“Kids (are) out playing in the yard, (and) people are going 45, 50 miles per hour through here,” said Ackerman, who has a newborn baby. “(It’s) not just cars. It’s motorcycles, pick-up trucks, even school buses and garbage trucks. Everything. Everyone’s ripping through here.”
About a year ago, Ackerman said he decided he would try to do something—anything—to get drivers to slow down on Lovell. He first approached Lexington city leaders, who quickly pointed him toward Centennial Lakes Police Department.
“The police have been pretty responsive,” said Ackerman, who also said officers have been “cool.” He said Centennial Lakes officers would come out and pull over drivers, and for a short time in October and early November there was a portable speed trailer set up not far from Ackerman’s house. It would display the radar-detected speed of drivers. But it was temporary.
“They’re not here for very long,” said Ackerman. “If they’re not going to ticket people (regularly), they’re not going to learn. They just won’t. You hit them in their pocketbooks, they’re going to slow down.”
Centennial Lakes Police Chief, Jim Coan told North Metro TV News that he and his officers sympathize with Ackerman but it’s simply not realistic to think there would be a seemingly permanent presence on Lovell Road, given manpower and coverage area needs. Centennial Lakes covers Circle Pines, Lexington, and Centerville.
Chief Coan said he feels his department is doing what it can. Coan and Ackerman both point to the fact that Lovell is about to get even busier with the expected completion of the Landings of Lexington mixed-use development at the corner of Lovell and Lexington Avenue.
“It’s going to add a lot of traffic, and they’ll all be going to Lovell to the freeway,” said Ackerman.
Ackerman has presented to Lexington City Council on several occasions, and, recently, the council presented a resolution of support for his request for help from Anoka County leaders, since Lovell Road is a county road. Ackerman said when he first approached county transportation leaders about putting up a permanent radar-detected speed sign, they were not receptive. He then went out and knocked on his neighbors doors—nearly 40—and got more than two dozen signatures of support on a petition. He then resubmitted that to County Engineer Doug Fischer.
“First thing we want to do is we want to understand what all the problems are,” said Fischer. His office has committed to studying Lovell Road for any issues to see if there are any solutions.
“Sometimes, it’s quick and we can evaluate it, make a corrective action, and move forward. Other times, it’s a little more tricky and complicated, and that will take some time.”
Ackerman said he’s happy the county will at least look into the situation and hopes to have some sort of progress on it very soon.
“It’s taken a year to get to this point,” he said. “You just have to keep after it because if you give up, they don’t care.”