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Paynesville Press - November 21, 2001

City council considers new ordinance

By Linda Stelling

Making left turns across double yellow lines on Washburne Avenue was discussed by the Paynesville City Council at its meeting on Wednesday, Nov. 14.

Mayor Jeff Thompson and Police Chief Tony Schmitt have both had inquiries on the issue.

While crossing a double yellow line is usually illegal and making a U-turn in the middle of a block is definitely illegal, this frequent downtown manevuer appears to be in a grey area legally. It isn't technically making a U-turn, said Bill Spooner, city attorney.

But it is a safety concern to Schmitt. Motorists turning into parking spaces are parking at unsafe angles, he said.

The city has an ordinance for U-turns that makes it illegal to make a U-turn except at an intersection.

Drivers who park on the opposite side of the road aren't making U-turns, said Spooner. They are pulling into a parking spot and not making a full loop.

The police have not been enforcing the U-turn ordinance as no signs are posted prohibiting them. The police have not issued any tickets for crossing the street to park either, as it has no guidelines to follow.

The council directed Spooner to research the legal issues and report back to the council. Based on his findings, the council could approve a city ordinance to make these turns illegal.

Spooner is expected to report back to the council at their next meeting on Wednesday, Nov. 28.

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