The City of Bloomington installed 82 signs prohibiting right turns at intersections during red lights on IU’s campus and the downtown area. City officials have been resizing and installing the signs through the month of March.
According to a news release by the City of Bloomington, Bloomington City Council voted on the proposed legislation to add the signs in April 2021. The Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety and the Traffic Commissions of Bloomington approved the intersection locations to prohibit right turns on red based on past crash data.
Kate Rosenbarger, District I Representative for Bloomington City Council and sponsor of the legislation that proposed the new signs, said conversations of this legislation began when an IU student was killed crossing the intersection of Third Street and Washington Street in February 2020.
“This is really about how intersections are dangerous by design, and a lot of the time we design things without human nature in mind,” Rosenbarger said. “If someone is trying to turn right on red at that intersection at Third and Washington, their attention is looking left at two lanes of traffic coming at them down a hill, not necessarily on pedestrians crossing the street in their line of travel.”
Rosenbarger said the installations began in November 2022 and are a vision zero approach, which is the prioritization of pedestrian safety that involves many small changes to traffic safety.
“It is of the mindset that no change is too small,” Rosenbarger said. “A lot of tiny changes creates a space where people using all mobility options feel safe and comfortable.”
Rosenbarger said that as Bloomington continues to grow, there may be conversations in the future about prohibiting right turns on red throughout most of the city.
“It might take more time for people to get around, but if it makes people walking through intersections safer, it’s hard to argue,” IU junior Madison Dross said.
A list of all 82 locations with no right turns on red can be found here.
CLARIFICATION: The story was updated to specify the number of signs instead of the number of intersections.