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Drivers, ATVs encouraged to share the road

The final touches are being made at Fauley Park in the west end of Cloquet. A wrought-iron fence surrounds much of the park with entrances marked by stone masonry columns. Outside the fence, ATV sharrows (white arrow lines with ATV written below them) have been painted along Broadway Street.

One of the ongoing issues with Fauley Park over the years has been ATVdrivers cutting through the park, tearing up grass and cutting deep ruts in the dirt. Included with the more than $200,000 facelift at Fauley are new signs posted to help guide ATV users as well as sharrows painted on the street around the park.

The sharrows serve a dual purpose, both to alert ATV drivers where to drive as well as make automobile traffic aware that ATVs are sharing the road with them.

“It is legal for licensed ATVs to operate on city streets as long as they abide by traffic laws,” said city engineer Caleb Peterson. “State statute does not allow them to travel on county or state roads other than for the purpose of crossing.”

Even though many people own and drive ATVs, many are not familiar with local laws or how to understand the signs set up by the city or DNR to designate ATV trails across the state. Section 5.6 of the City Code addresses ATV use in the city limits. It says ATV vehicles are not allowed on private property without permission from the owner. Places designated for ATV use in the city limits are marked with signs normally used in highway traffic regulation by the city.

The fence was put up around the perimeter of the train park to help deter people from driving ATVs through the little park to get to trails along the St. Louis River.

Passersby will notice that the fence does not totally enclose the park.

“The south end of the park lies within MnDOT (Minnesota Department of Transportation) right-of-way (ROW). The city was not permitted to continue the fence into the ROW,” Peterson explained. “We continue to investigate other options but suspect that once people realize the far end of the park is closed off, the vast majority of traffic will bypass the park.”