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ASK YOUR GOVERNMENT: When there’s snow, plows can go

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

Q. Can city snow plows run red lights? Because I saw one run a red light on 32nd Avenue.

A. Well, running red lights doesn’t sound good.

By law, all vehicles must obey the rules of the road, with some exceptions for emergency vehicles.

But, according to city Street Supervisor Mark Aubol, it is safer in some rare cases when a snow plow is moving “a considerable amount of snow,” for it to go through the intersection without stopping.

By stopping, Aubol said, the snow plow would hold the large amount of snow at the intersection, creating more problems for drivers. So, the snow plow operator needs to make a safe decision for everyone in the intersection, he said.

New school routine

Q. What’s the deal with the new “early drop-off” at South Middle School?

A. South Middle School in Grand Forks started a new morning drop-off routine on Feb. 4 due to pedestrian safety concerns, said Tracy Jentz, communications coordinator for Grand Forks Public Schools. 

“Vehicles of various heights and shapes have double- or triple-parked in the past, and drivers were not always able to see pedestrians in the crosswalk,” Jentz said.

Under the new routine, drivers are asked to pull up to the curb, which starts west of the gymnasium and curves to the north of the building, first before dropping off a child on the main entry side of the building.

Cars are expected to be in a single drop-off lane as they move past door No. 1, and drivers are asked not to stop or park in the crosswalk.

“As this new process will take longer,” Jentz said, “drivers are encouraged to build in more time in the morning for drop-off.”


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.
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