Last week, a couple no-left-turn signs on Hennepin Avenue South weren't living up to their name.
One sign with a portable base was lying face down in a snow bank on the corner of South 5th Street & Hennepin. Three blocks away, on the corner of South 8th Street & Hennepin, another no-left-turn sign - bent in half, with no base - laid on the ground next to the bus shelter.
Lt. Mike Kjos of the 1st Precinct, 19 N. 4th St., said the no-left-turn sign is used during the Warehouse District's bar closings to keep traffic circulating when it backs up.
He said the police try to keep all southbound traffic on 1st Avenue and all northbound traffic on Hennepin Avenue. "If the roads get completely blocked up with cars," Kjos said. "There is no way to get an emergency vehicle in or out" of the area.
He said the 5th & Hennepin sign restricts drivers heading north on Hennepin from turning left onto 5th and further clogging traffic. When it is not being used, the sign temporarily remains on the sidewalk.
Kjos said drivers who do ignore the no-left-turn sign - even though it is temporary - can be ticketed. That said, Kjos said he has never seen a ticket issued for that particular reason in the six months he's been working at the 1st precinct.
Kjos said he didn't know about the busted 8th & Hennepin sign. That prompted a call to Pat Grant, the city's supervisor of traffic maintenance, which resulted in the sign being picked up.
Grant said he didn't know where the sign was supposed to be posted but assumed it was one of the 1st Precinct's portable no-left-turn traffic control signs.
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