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City must finally greenlight a “no-turn-on-red” policy

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It was May of 2019 when the SFMTA Board Chair Amanda Eaken asked SFMTA staff to pursue a no-turn-on-red policy for the city.

A few months later, Mayor London Breed asked the agency to analyze and develop policy recommendations to restrict right turns at red lights.

Then, in the City’s new Vision Zero Action Strategy in 2021, the SFMTA committed to “Evaluate Tenderloin No Turn on Red policy and develop expansion plan based on results” in 2022. The SFMTA’s evaluation is complete and the findings are clear: close calls between pedestrians and drivers in the crosswalk have dramatically decreased.

No-turn-on-red is a pedestrian-first solution that gives both drivers and people walking their dedicated time, preventing dangerous conflict in the crosswalk. And all it takes is a simple sign, like the one you see above.

For years, Walk SF has strongly advocated for a no-turn-on-red policy focused on the high-injury network – the 12% of streets where 68% of traffic crashes occur.

Turning vehicles create one of the biggest threats to pedestrians, and drivers turning at lights accounts for 20% of pedestrian- or bicycle-related injury crashes (source: SFMTA).

Yesterday, Supervisor Dean Preston introduced a resolution asking for no-turn-on-red at all intersections with traffic lights. We applaud Preston for bringing attention to this underutilized, proven solution. So many of us are desperate for intersections to be safer, especially given that three pedestrians have been killed in the past six weeks.

Walk SF joins Supervisor Preston in pushing the city for a clear policy – and rollout plan – from SFMTA to implement no-turn-on-red in a widespread, strategic way to move forward progress on Vision Zero.

NOTE: Since publishing this blog, the entire San Francisco Board of Supervisors unanimously supported Preston’s no-turn-on-red resolution on October 3. Thank you, Supervisors!

Check out this map from the San Francisco Chronicle of all no turn on red locations.