SEATTLE — Seattle will continue to expand No Turn on Red restrictions at intersections across the city in an effort to enhance safety for pedestrians, drivers and cyclists.
The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) said it has developed a new policy and has started expanding No Turn on Red restrictions at more than 40 downtown intersections as part of its Vision Zero initiative to end traffic-related deaths and serious injuries on city streets.
Limiting turns during red lights reduces collisions between drivers, pedestrians, and cyclists. In Seattle, these types of crashes account for 9% of all collisions with people using crosswalks, SDOT said. A recent study by the Institute of Transportation Engineers Journal found that making right turns on red lights illegal reduced the number of pedestrians being hit by cars by 92% and reduced crashes between vehicles by 97% at intersections with stop lights. The study also found that making it illegal to turn right during a red light resulted in a "minimal increase in waiting for vehicle traffic at intersections."
“Let’s not trade people's safety so people in cars can save a few seconds of waiting for their turn to go. Adding over 40 No Turn on Red intersections downtown is the first step in our plan to expand this proven safety measure to pedestrian-dense neighborhoods,” said SDOT Director Greg Spotts.
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SDOT has already installed No Turn on Red signs at 28 of the 41 locations with the remainder expected to be installed by the Major League Baseball All-Star Week in July. The agency said it chose the locations because of their high pedestrian volumes.
In addition to adding the signs to 41 intersections downtown, SDOT developed a new policy that will establish the broad use of these restrictions at intersections throughout the city. The agency will do this by implementing No Turn on Red signs when new traffic signals are installed.
Additionally, all future and existing projects will be required to evaluate including No Turn on Red signs at intersections as part of the project.
At the start of 2023, there were about 100 intersections in Seattle where it was illegal to turn right during a red light.