Ann Arbor plans to ban turning right on red lights downtown to curb pedestrian crashes

Under a new resolution, turning right on a red light in downtown Ann Arbor would be illegal.

The move is to reduce pedestrian crashes in a very busy area. Only buses would be exempt from the rule.

"Students will walk and just run across the street without even looking," said University of Michigan senior Abby Schmit. "I did see one accident once, and I've seen many close calls."

Ann Arbor City Councilwoman Erica Briggs is among those sponsoring the resolution, which says from 2017 to 2021 there were 90 crashes involving pedestrians in the downtown core bordered by Kingsley Street, State Street, Hoover Avenue, and First Street. The no turn on red restrictions would be specifically for that area.

"There will be some mixed reactions, but I think overall people will be supportive of this because we're a community that values pedestrian safety," she said.

Students and professors both shared stories of pedestrian crashes and safety in the city.

"Some cars coming very quickly and very fast," Professor Mostafa Hussein said. 

International student Marco Islam said he is used to communities being safer and more accessible to people on bikes.

"You definitely have to duck out of the way. It definitely feels unsafe if cars turn right even though the traffic lights are red. That just doesn't make you feel safe," he said.

Even if turning right on red was to be banned, some say it might be pretty hard to get drivers to follow the rules.

"People turn right on red even when it says no turn on red," said Luke Humprhey, a recent graduate. "Even though I am a cyclist I would say no, just because it's so standard, and I very much appreciate when I'm in a hurry and in a car, being able to turn right on red."

The resolution is expected to pass when the city council votes on it.