INDIANAPOLIS — The City of Indianapolis and state lawmakers are at odds over a plan to make it illegal to make right turns during red lights at more downtown Indianapolis intersections.
City Council members proposed 'no turn on red' legislation that would restrict drivers from turning right at red lights downtown Indianapolis in an effort to improve pedestrian safety.
The proposal passed out of the City and County Public Works Committee but has yet to be approved by the full Council. State lawmakers are trying to block the proposal before the Council even has a chance to vote on it.
“I’m all for local government until they’re stupid, and that is stupid,” State Senator Aaron Freeman, R-Indianapolis, said.
Freeman has been a harsh critic of the Indianapolis City County Council in the past. He feels adding more ‘no turn on red’ signs would cause more traffic issues downtown.
“I have no issues with targeted enforcement,” Freeman said. “But when you want to be blanketly stupid, I can stop that.”
Freeman added an amendment to House Bill 1050 that would outlaw the ability of the city to install more ‘no turn on red’ signs.
In the city’s proposal, ‘no turn on red’ signs would be added to:
- 11th Street/Oscar Robertson Boulevard/10th Street
- White River Parkway West Drive
- Interstate I-70
- and Interstate I-65, except state highways.
Pedestrians in Indianapolis say walking downtown feels dangerous at times. They believe the proposal could make walking downtown safer.
“I think it would be a good solution. I think drivers would be more aware of pedestrians if they had to actually stop and pause at the red light,” Jeff Barnett said. He both lives and works downtown.
According to pedestrians, drivers don’t respect the traffic lights and pay little to no attention to those who are crossing the street.
AARP, who supported the proposal during its initial hearing, said older adults are disproportionately impacted in pedestrian related accidents and crashes.
“This issue impacts not only walkers and bikers, but it impacts drivers too,” Addison Pollock, the Director of Community Engagement at AARP Indiana, said. “It creates an overall safer transportation network for all modes of transportation.”
IMPD sent WRTV the following chart regarding pedestrian accident numbers in Indianapolis:
However, Freeman says that accidents are at an all-time low in Indiana. He provided this data to show the declining figures.
Freeman says the real issue is distracted driving, something that could be solved if everyone is paying more attention to their surroundings.
“People need to put down their phones, not be drunk or high and pay attention to their vehicles,” Freeman said.
WRTV reached out to the City Council for comments, and they sent us the following statement:
“Pedestrian safety is a concern we share with our constituents, and it remains a priority for us. We have been working closely with constituents, neighborhood associations, and advocacy groups, and these proposals are long overdue. Our city has lost too many pedestrians and cyclists, and it is crucial to take action to improve their safety. The Council is responsible for enacting local laws, including local traffic laws. It is unfortunate and disappointing; therefore, that the Indiana Senate has proposed an amendment to HB1050, which could hinder our ability to do so. This amendment is not only concerning for us but for our constituents who bring these issues to our attention. We remain committed to addressing the safety of our constituents, and do what we can to keep pedestrians, cyclists, and drivers safe, and we urge the General Assembly to not move forward with this amendment.”
HB 1050 and the amendment added by Freeman has passed out of the Senate. It will now go to the House.
If the House votes to concur the bill, it will go to the Governor’s desk.