RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Raleigh City Council authorized changes to ban motorists from turning right on red, after securing a bid to install signing in the designated area.
According to Watch for Me NC, a program run by that department, more than 3,000 pedestrians and 850 bicyclists are hit by vehicles each year in the state.
Following a January 2019 crash downtown which killed a pedestrian who was a state employee, Governor Cooper directed NCDOT engineers to initiate a study aimed at improving pedestrian safety in the downtown area. Working alongside city transportation staff, they completed the study in 2021, and issued a series of recommendations, which included adding Leading Pedestrian Intervals, lowering and posting the speed limit to 25 MPH, removing dual turning movements, and prohibiting turning right on red.
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Initially, the city was unable to secure a contractor to install signage regarding the right on red ban, but found a bidder after re-advertising the role.
"A lot of the one-way streets, it causes a safety concern where a driver will be looking for a gap in vehicles one way, and a pedestrian can be walking the other, and the vehicle can conflict with the pedestrian movement," explained Jed Neffenegger, a traffic engineer with the City of Raleigh.
The ban would impact intersections located within Glenwood Avenue, Peace Street, East Street, and MLK Jr. Boulevard.
"I actually think it's important because just now as I was crossing the street, the person wasn't paying attention that the crosswalk sign was on and was about to turn as I was about to cross at that same moment. So I had to stop. So I think it does provide safety for those that are walking downtown, whether it is to get lunch, whether it's to get exercise. And what is a couple of seconds that folks have to wait at the red light," said Jenice Ramirez, who was walking in downtown Raleigh Friday.
City Council anticipates the signs will be installed by the end of April. Once implemented, Raleigh Police would be able to issue citations to violators.