The Montgomery County Council on Tuesday voted unanimously to ban “right turns on red” at some intersections as part of an overhaul of the county’s traffic safety laws.
The “Safe Streets Act of 2023” prohibits drivers from making right turns on a red traffic light at busy intersections in downtown and town center areas of the county. These designated intersections would be marked with “No Right Turn on Red” signs. The bill also lengthens walk times for pedestrians at crosswalks.
Downtown areas in Montgomery County are defined as those areas with the highest intensity of development and include Bethesda, Friendship Heights, Silver Spring and Wheaton.
Town center areas have moderate to high development and include Burtonsville, Chevy Chase Lake, Clarksburg Town Center and Germantown Center.
In addition, aiming to create safer routes to school, the measure requires county staff to conduct infrastructure reviews following traffic-related incidents near school zones and bus stops.
The legislation was introduced by council president Evan Glass last year, who also chairs the Transportation and Environment Committee, with the aim of making streets safer for cyclists and pedestrians.
“Too many of our neighbors continue to be seriously injured or killed while walking or biking on our roads,” Glass said in a statement after the council vote. “The Safe Streets Act of 2023 will bring much-needed safety improvements to our roads and help prevent injuries and death. The United States has the highest rate of roadway incidents in the developed world. This legislation will put us on a safer path.”
So far this year, the county has seen 11 deaths involving pedestrians and cyclists and 404 injuries, according to the Montgomery County Council. Last year, 19 pedestrians and bicyclists were killed an 541 people were seriously injured on county roads.
The legislation would also add more speed cameras in the area.
County Executive Marc Elrich is expected to sign the bill next week.
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