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Red Light Turn Ban Proposed For Atlanta Roads

Ken Lund
Turning right on a red light on Atlanta roads could be prohibited soon.

Atlanta drivers could soon get pulled over for turning right on a red light on the city’s busiest streets. Members of the Atlanta City Council proposed this new rule on Monday, Jan. 8, in an effort to maximize the safety of pedestrians and cyclists.

Council member Jason Dozier, who played a vital role in developing the legislation, noted that the latest proposed regulations are focused on municipal zones with high pedestrian activity. These regions, particularly downtown and midtown, host large crowds for sporting events, concerts, and conventions.

“When you allow for right turns at red lights, motorists tend to creep into the crosswalk to look for oncoming cars or their opportunity to go, which creates safety issues for pedestrians and cyclists.” – Jason Dozier, Atlanta City Council Member

A recent PropelATL report found a 23% increase in pedestrian fatalities in the city in 2022 compared to the previous year. The research showed that 38 pedestrians died within Atlanta’s city limits last year, up from 31 in 2021.

According to PropelATL’s statistics, only 10% of Atlanta’s roadways account for half of all pedestrian-vehicle fatalities and the vast majority of pedestrian-bicycle incidents. Alarmingly, more than two-thirds of the 38 fatalities in 2022 happened in largely Black communities with inadequate pedestrian infrastructure.

In April 2020, the City Council unanimously agreed to support a “Vision Zero” project aimed at fully eliminating pedestrian fatalities. Since then, they have implemented various pieces of legislation to achieve this purpose.

The present legislation plan, which attempts to restrict turning on red lights, is based on Federal Highway Administration recommendations. The federal advice suggests limiting this approach in regions with high pedestrian activity. Several cities across the country, including Washington, D.C., Seattle, and Raleigh, North Carolina, have passed rules limiting red light turns.

Students at the University of North Georgia expressed mix feelings about the legislation. Some students, such as Mauriana Gilbert, agree that the potential new law is crucial for pedestrian safety.

“When I’m in Atlanta, the signage can be confusing as to where I can and can’t turn right on a red light,” Gilbert also said. “Having a solid, safe rule for everyone to follow would be nice.”

Other students, like Ty Tilley, believe that the red light turn ban would lead to more traffic congestion within Atlanta.

“I used to be an internet provider salesman and would have to drive in Atlanta a lot, and traffic was already horrendous in the city as it was,” Tilley said.

The legislation is currently under consideration by the City Council transportation committee.

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Chaz Mullis
Chaz Mullis, Staff Editor
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