M St. Right-on-Red May Be Banned

A resolution to support a District proposal to ban drivers from making a right turn onto M Street at the red light at northbound 29th Street in Georgetown was turned down by Advisory Neighborhood Commission 2E at its Jan. 3 meeting.

“We know it is part of the mayor’s ‘Vision Zero,’ ” said ANC Vice Chair Lisa Palmer, referring to the plan to eliminate traffic-related deaths and injuries by 2024. “But we need more information.”

Right turns at red lights and stop signs are allowed in most of the District when an intersection is not specifically marked with a no-turn-on-red sign.

“But there can also be some unintended consequences to banning it,” said Palmer. “The right-turning traffic from 29th Street could hold up any left or northbound traffic when the light finally turns green. We need to know more.”

Meanwhile, watch out for a type of right-on-red that is already illegal. While D.C. Municipal Regulation §18-4013 allows right turns at red lights, the following condition is specified: “only after coming to a full stop and yielding right-of-way to pedestrians and other vehicles.” Tickets for a right-turn violation can cost up to $300.

Some jurisdictions only issue tickets for a rolling turn — also known as a “Rhode Island roll,” “a California stop” or “a New Jersey bounce” — if the driver goes over 13 mph into the turn, which is considered dangerous to other drivers and nearby pedestrians. But groups like the National Motorists Association and Safer Streets LA have argued that these rolling right-turn tickets are not about safety but money.

Some jurisdiction issue tickets on a discretionary basis; others strictly by the book. Some pricey tickets have been issued in D.C. for turning right on red, even though the driver came to a full stop, when the car extends halfway into the crosswalk.

Palmer expects more information from a soon-to-be-released Department of Transportation traffic circulation report. The right-on-red ban is expected to apply to roughly 100 intersections in the District.



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