City officials said they have removed “No Turn on Red” signs from approximately 30 intersections after launching a review of the effectiveness of the signs last fall.
And requests from residents and Metro Transit to review more intersections continue to stream in, said City Traffic Operations Engineer Steve Mosing. Anyone in the city can request that officials review a specific intersection's No Turn on Red signs, he said. The city currently has 20 more intersections on its list to review, and Mosing estimates that number will remain fairly consistent as the city continues to receive requests.
“We look at all of the requests that come in,” Mosing said, adding that there isn't a certain number of signs the city is looking to remove. Officials will simply respond to requests and take each on a case-by-case basis.
This fall, city employees will do an evaluation of the intersections where No Turn on Red signs were removed to see if it has had any noticeably positive or negative effects on traffic, Mosing said.
Late last fall, city traffic engineers began a five-year review of the more than 800 intersections with traffic signals. Minneapolis has inconsistently approved the No Turn on Red signs, according to an Oct. 25 memo by Jon Wertjes, director of traffic and parking services. It resulted in “overuse, disregard by the traveling public and, in numerous cases, no safety improvement,” the memo said. “In addition, there are numerous locations where [No Turn on Red] signs delay transit buses, thus increasing their travel time.”
During the review process, city officials look at light timing, intersection design and the need for No Turn on Red signs. Generally, officials will remove the signs, Mosing said, unless there are factors such as if the intersection is anything other than a standard four-way intersection, if it has a heavy number of pedestrians, if there is inadequate sight distance to see if a vehicle is approaching or if the intersection already has a crash problem that involves rights turns on red.
Last year, city staff reviewed 16 studies investigating right-turn-on-red safety issues. Several said that right-on-red crashes accounted for fewer than 0.6 percent of all intersection crashes, and others said that the probability of vehicle-pedestrian conflicts and crashes are greater with right turn on green than right turn on red.