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Right on Red Ordinance Proceeds

WGIL Newsroom . Local News 243

galesburgGalesburg could soon allow right turns during red lights for portions of East Main Street.

The Galesburg City Council, Monday night, considered making the change – which calls for allowing right-on-red turns along East Main Street from the intersections between Cherry Street and Seminary Street.

Seventh Ward Alderman Jeremy Karlin tells WGIL he’s satisfied pedestrians will remain safe if the ordinance is approved.

“There are a number of communities in Illinois much larger than us which have far greater pedestrian counts that seem to be able to manage this well,” says Karlin. “I think, frankly, that if you have rights-on-reds, you will have a smoother traffic pattern and that will therefore be safer.”

The Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices restricts right-on-red turns if more than three accidents have occurred during a 12 month period at the affected intersections; high pedestrian conflicts; inadequate sight distance; and if the geometry of the intersection could increase conflicts.

City Administration studied traffic accident reports at the four intersections involved and found few problems. Downtown areas are commonly associated with relatively high pedestrian counts, but where pedestrians were involved in accidents, the City claims the vehicle driver often failed to observe the road ahead. Those accidents exclusively related to left-hand turns.

“I know that IDOT had, at one point, considered changing the striping on those roads,” says Karlin. “I don’t think that they’re pushing it that much because traffic count has dropped, but once we have all of our overpasses and underpasses built and we have a good sense of what the traffic looks like, that will be a good time to revisit how our roads are striped on Main Street.”

The section of road considered by the City for changes falls under the purview of the Illinois Department of Transportation. To change the current traffic flow on East Main Street, IDOT has agreed to go along with the City’s recommendation.

Mayor and WGIL Owner John Pritchard tells WGIL he’s anticipating the measure to pass.

“Obviously a decision like this, we can study the data for a year or two and decide whether that was good or not good,” says Pritchard.

The ordinance will receive a vote at the next City Council meeting.