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Local News

Atlanta City Council approves measure limiting right turn on red lights

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Amanda Andrews, GPB News

Atlanta City Council passed a bill banning right turns during red lights in parts of the city in a 10-3 vote Monday night.

Turning right on red will be prohibited at intersections in downtown, Midtown, and in the Castleberry Hill neighborhood of Atlanta. City councilmembers proposed the bill to decrease pedestrian deaths especially in the city’s most walkable areas.

Councilmember Alex Wan opposed the bill. He said the red-light measure is too narrow in scope.

“I feel like the conversation we should be having is doing it citywide, not piecemeal, and not in just certain sections of the city,” Wan said. “If we do believe in it for part of the city, I think, you know in terms of pedestrian safety, we should be protecting pedestrians everywhere.”

Pedestrian and biker safety advocates have been asking the city to address dangerous intersections in a strategy called Vision Zero. The idea was adopted as a guideline by the city in 2020. Under the plan, the Atlanta Department of Transportation will try to bring traffic deaths down to zero through speed management and safer street design.

Councilmember Jaxon Dozier said up turning right on red lights only became law in the 1970s in response to the gas crisis.

“We’re dealing with policies made 40, 50 years ago that, has had a dramatically negative impact on our pedestrian and cyclist community since then.”

City Council is giving the Atlanta Department of Transportation until the end of 2025 to implement the changes.

This story comes to The Peachtree Gazette through a reporting partnership with GPB News, a non-profit newsroom covering the state of Georgia.