Will Bay Area join movement to ban right turns on red lights? Roadshow

Q: San Jose is looking for solutions on how to solve the rate of traffic fatalities. Washington, D.C. just passed its Safer Streets Amendment Act, which will ban all right-hand turns on red by 2025. Part of the Vision Zero initiative, it was adopted by 50 other cities, including Austin, Texas, Lansing, Michigan, Philadelphia, Portland, Oregon, and Savannah, Georgia.

Has there been talk of this in the Bay Area?

Neil MacLean

A: Right turns are prohibited on red lights at several intersections in San Jose, usually to improve safety for bicyclists in locations where protected bike lanes lead to an intersection, or when poor visibility makes right turns unsafe.

San Jose data do not suggest right turns are a frequent cause of fatal or severe crashes. The top known cause of such tragedies is speeding, which caused 21% of severe crashes between 2017 and 2021. The next most frequent causes of severe injury crashes during this period were red-light running and unsafe turning movements, at 7% each.

San Jose has implemented a number of safety projects, including safety improvements on Hillsdale Avenue and Senter Road. Reducing speeds is the primary goal of these transformations, but the city is also tightening right turns at many locations by using temporary or permanent “bulb outs” at corners. Bulb outs make drivers slow down when turning and give pedestrians increased visibility and shortened crossing distances.

For those concerned about where right turns on red seem to be posing a safety hazard, email [email protected] with specifics.

Q: Kudos to the city for resurfacing major roads, including Almaden Expressway, Blossom Hill Road, Branham Lane, McAbee Road, and Redmond Avenue, to mention a few, in South San Jose.

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