Each week, Herald reporter Brandi Jewett answers your questions about local government, laws and other local topics.
Q. Will adding roundabouts to Grand Forks’ street system make clearing snow more difficult?
A. Ever since I wrote earlier this month about the two roundabouts planned for Grand Forks, residents have asked questions about their impact.
The question of snow removal is one city spokesman Kevin Dean said has come up frequently.
The answer? It shouldn’t be a problem.
Street Superintendent Mark Aubol says he does not believe snow removal at the roundabouts will be more difficult than any other location.
The design of a roundabout can cause snow to catch and drift into the central island causing problems for traffic.
To combat this, the islands in the city’s roundabouts will have a lower curb. This will allow snow to blow through the center instead of piling up and causing a hazard.
Construction is expected to begin in 2014. Don’t worry, roundabouts aren’t planned for major streets such 32nd Avenue South or Washington Street.
The roundabouts will be tested on roads with a smaller traffic volumes first. The pair planned for the city will be at South 34th Street and 24th Avenue South and at South 34th Street and 40th Avenue South.
Q. When is construction going to be finished on the Central parking ramp on Grand Forks’ First Avenue North? Until then, which permit holders can park in Lower Riverboat Lot? My wife has a permit for the Central Ramp but has to park in two-hour parking in the Corporate Center ramp.
A. As someone who lives downtown, I can attest to the shortage of parking caused by the Central ramp’s closure. But city officials say there is a light at the end of tunnel.
Work on the ramp’s $2 million renovation project is expected to wrap up in October.
The target date for opening two-hour public parking slots on the first level and permitted parking slots on the second and third levels is Oct. 7, according to Greg Hoover, director of the city’s Urban Development Office.
The other two levels should be open by the end of October.
In the meantime, the city has assigned parking to more than 150 permit holders from the Central ramp to the Lower Riverboat lot or the Corporate Center ramp. Three businesses also have been assigned about 100 spaces in the Lower Riverboat lot.
If you’re a permit holder encountering parking difficulties, contact Urban Development at (701) 792-2876. You should use two-hour parking spaces only as a last resort, according to Hoover.