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What No Right Turn on Red Would Mean for Midtown

Midtown Alliance supports Atlanta City Council’s efforts to prioritize pedestrian safety.


5th & Spring St NW


Although permission to make a right turn on red at an intersection might seem to be more efficient for motorists, this everyday situation has a downside. Right turns on red, while convenient for drivers, puts people on foot, wheelchairs, and bikes at risk of being hit in crosswalks and intersections. 

Mirroring national trends, Atlanta has experienced an increase in pedestrian fatalities since 2017 (38 deaths in 2022, 31 in 2021). So, what can we do about it? 

To address this issue, Atlanta City District 4 Council member Jason Dozier proposed an ordinance during the Council’s January 8 session to prohibit right turns on red lights in Downtown, Midtown, and Castleberry Hill. The proposal aims to reduce the rising rate of pedestrian fatalities, ultimately putting pedestrian safety first. 

This proposed legislation is not unique to Atlanta; several other cities across the U.S., including New York City and Washington DC, have or will soon implement bans on right turns on red lights. 

Additionally, the Atlanta Department of Transportation (DOT) is in the process of finalizing the Atlanta Vision Zero Action Plan. This plan will outline precise strategies aimed at enhancing street safety through design enhancements and new policy. The objective? To eliminate all traffic-related fatalities and severe injuries within the City.

Noted transportation thought leader Janette Sadik-Khan spoke about the need for Vision Zero programs in her keynote remarks at Midtown Alliance’s 2017 Annual Meeting, urging city leadership to devise a plan.

“With analysis and leadership, crashes can be predicted and they can be prevented,” said Sadik-Khan, whose work as NYC DOT commissioner included successfully closing part of Times Square to automobile traffic. “Setting a goal is really the key. You’re seeing mayors now recognize that, building on it and moving toward Vision Zero, and I think that is so important.”   

 Prioritizing Pedestrian Safety is Critical 

Midtown Alliance’s Comprehensive Transportation Plan
Click to view Midtown Alliance’s Comprehensive Transportation Plan

“Restricting right turns on red would help make crossing the street or riding a bike or scooter safer in Midtown,” said Dan Hourigan, Midtown Alliance’s Director of Transportation & Sustainability. “Midtown Alliance supports the City’s proposal to restrict right turns on red in Midtown."

This aligns with the policy recommendations outlined in Midtown Alliance’s Comprehensive Transportation Plan, a major project completed in 2017 that was informed by input from thousands of Midtown community members.

To support the City’s efforts, Midtown Alliance staff have cataloged the existing “No Right on Red” signs (19), upcoming additions within approved transportation projects (74 approaches), and the remaining opportunities within the core of Midtown (92 approaches).

Midtown Alliance and the Midtown Improvement District are currently implementing a combined $20M of public improvement projects in 2024, many of which will feature new traffic signals and intersection upgrades that make the timing ideal for possible changes to right turns on red. 

 What Happens Next? 

The Atlanta Department of Transportation requested Council delay enactment of the legislation to refine certain details within the text. The revised version is expected to return to the Council’s Transportation Committee within the coming weeks. 

Read the full proposed legislation here. To provide your input, contact your City Council member. Not sure who represents your area? Find out here. 

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