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ASK YOUR GOVERNMENT: Turning left in downtown Grand Forks

Each week, Herald reporter Charly Haley answers your questions about local government, laws and other local topics.

Q. Why are there not protected left turns turning onto DeMers Avenue going into downtown Grand Forks, specifically at the intersection of DeMers and North Fifth Street? I routinely pick my daughter up from the YMCA and take that route to return back to East Grand Forks, but at the 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. timeframe it is very tough to take a left onto DeMers. I’ve seen vehicles hanging in the intersection in order to be able to turn, and this further clogs traffic and can result in some dangerous conditions.

A. According to city Traffic Engineer Jane Williams, a 2013 study concluded that none of the signals in the downtown area, including DeMers Avenue and North Fifth Street met the criteria for exclusive left turn phasing.

This does not mean there won’t be other studies and/or installing left turn phasing at a future time, she said. The city will continue to monitor traffic on a citywide basis and develop projects that address safety, she said.

Q. A driver with very loud speakers in his car likes to pass by our office near Grand Forks City Hall and the school once or twice a day. The noise literally rattles the windows and is very disruptive, especially when we're on the phone. Are there laws governing how loud people can play their music on public streets and do they get enforced?

A. It is illegal for any person to make “unnecessary” noises in the streets and alleys of the city, according to Lt. Dwight Love, of the Grand Forks Police Department.

“(Unncessary noise) includes the use of loud speakers, radios and other attention-attracting devices,” Love said.

Violation of this noise law is a $101 fine, he said.

“My best advice is to get a vehicle license plate and call the police department at (701) 787-8000 so we can follow up on the problem,” Love said. “Most of the time this type of complaint results in a conversation with a child and his/her parents. This educational approach seems to work very well.”

If it continues to be a problem, Love recommends keeping the police informed of it.

Have a question? Call Haley at (701) 780-1102(800) 477-6572, ext. 1102; or send email to

Charly Haley

Charly Haley covers city government for the Grand Forks Herald. As night reporter, she also has many general assignments. Before working at the Herald, she was a reporter at the Jamestown Sun and interned at The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead, Detroit Lakes Newspapers and the St. Cloud Times. Haley is a graduate of Minnesota State University Moorhead, and her hometown is Sartell, Minn.