Delaware News

City: No need to ban turns at downtown crossroads

Handful of crashes not enough to halt right turns on red at Winter, Sandusky streets, committee rules

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A proposal to ban right turns on red at a busy downtown intersection gained no traction last week with Delaware's Parking and Safety Committee.

The committee considered a proposal to ban right turns on red in all directions at the intersection of Sandusky and and Winter streets after a resident's complaint. According to city records, the complaint was made after a crash at the intersection in mid-February.

The committee voted 3-0 against the proposal at its meeting Monday, May 19.

Jessica Ormeroid, project engineer with the city of Delaware, said police records showed four crashes have occurred at the intersection in the last five years. Two of them occurred when a vehicle was turning right from East Winter Street onto North Sandusky Street during a red light.

The other two crashes did not involve a car turning right on a red light.

Ormeroid recommended the committee reject the proposal to ban right turns on red at the intersection.

"Based on the accident history, we don't really see it as an issue," she said.

City Councilman Kent Shafer said he did not think it would be wise to ban right turns on red at the intersection without more evidence of a serious problem.

"I guess my thing with all that is, we (would) inconvenience a lot of people for two accidents in five years," he said.

Ormeroid said putting up signs banning right turns during red lights can increase congestion and lead to other issues at the intersection. She said studies have shown that banning right turns on red in certain situations actually can make intersections more dangerous for pedestrians.

"You have people there impatiently waiting to go, and then they're not paying attention (to pedestrians) when they do get the green light. They just go," she said.

Ormeroid said the intersection sees heavy pedestrian traffic, but unlike a crossing near a school building, she did not see a great need for additional safety measures to protect walkers.

Police Chief Bruce Pijanowski said he did not think banning the movement at the intersection would improve safety for drivers or pedestrians.

"When the light's red, it's red for pedestrians and traffic, so there should be no pedestrian crossing on red," he said.

Ormeroid said the Ohio Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices requires the consideration of bans on right turns on red only after three crashes involving that traffic movement in a year at an intersection.

"We're nowhere even close to that guideline," she said.

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