ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ASK YOUR GOVERNMENT: Accidents a concern at Walmart intersection

Each week, Herald reporter Brandi Jewett answers your questions about local government, laws and other local topics. Q. I was recently involved in an accident on South Columbia Road. The location was the 3400 block, where the other vehicle was tr...

Brandi Jewett

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

Q. I was recently involved in an accident on South Columbia Road. The location was the 3400 block, where the other vehicle was travelling east to west across Columbia Road from the Walmart exit toward the Super One complex. The responding officer told me that accidents happen there a lot, and a business employee on that corner told us that an incident happens almost every day. What does it take to prevent traffic from going across Columbia Road at that location? It is obviously a problem location. Couldn't it be prevented by installing a median like is already at 1400 S. Columbia Road and 2000 S. Columbia Road? A stoplight is not the answer at this location.

A. City staff says you're right about that location being a dangerous intersection, but it will hopefully only be that way for a few more years.

Changes are in the city's plans to make the roadway safer, according to city spokesman Kevin Dean. It's scheduled for modifications in 2014 or 2015 to construct an intersection allowing right and left turns off Columbia Road, but only right turns onto Columbia.

It would restrict all other traffic, including vehicles that want to cross Columbia from east to west or vice versa.

ADVERTISEMENT

The construction will take place at the same time the reconstruction of Columbia Road from 36th to 40th Avenue South will take place. According to the city's capital improvement plan, that construction project will cost about $4.4 million.

And don't worry, a stoplight will not be installed at this intersection.

One will be placed just to the south at the intersection of Columbia Road and 40th Avenue South.

Slippery parking spaces

Q. I'm wondering why there is diagonal parking on the side of Kittson Avenue in Grand Forks that has a downward slope? It causes a lot of problems in the winter. While out shoveling the sidewalk for half an hour, I had to help push three cars and one pickup out of those diagonal spots the morning after a mere inch of new snowfall. The sound of squealing tires from trapped cars has become the soundtrack to my life. Is there any solution to this besides changing the type of parking on the street?

A. It seems you and I are listening to the same soundtrack. I'm glad my roommates and I aren't the only ones living with the sounds of cars stuck on Kittson Avenue.

It seems a switch in parking style seems to be at the root of our wintertime blues.

Kittson Avenue was originally designed for parallel parking, which allowed the street to have a fairly large slope for drainage purposes.

ADVERTISEMENT

Restriping the south side of the street as diagonal parking was an inexpensive option to increase the number of parking spaces in that part of town, according to Dean.

Unfortunately, it seems the street's slope is what's trapping people parking in those spots.

From what I can see, people who don't move their cars on street cleaning nights force the plows to cut farther away from the gutter and leave more snow than I'm sure their operators would like on the road.

The extra snow plus the slope combine to create a lot of spinning tires.

It seems relief likely won't come during our tenure as residents of Kittson.

Reducing the slope of the street would be an expensive process, Dean said. The best time to consider doing that would be when the street is due for reconstruction, which will be a number of years down the road.

Until then, if you want to brave our neck of the woods in the winter then you may want to throw a shovel and kitty litter in your trunk just in case.

Have questions? Call Jewett at (701) 780-1108 or (800) 477-6572 extension 1108, email bjewett@gfherald.com , follow her on Twitter at @brandijewett or see her blog at diggingdeeper.com.

What To Read Next