The city council passed an ordinance on Tuesday night that bars motorists from making right turn on red-light in downtown Paterson.
Sixteen intersections, mostly in downtown Paterson, are affected by the new measure. In 3 of the intersections motorists will be prohibited from making turn on red at any time; in 13 of the intersections drivers will be barred from making right turn on red from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., according to the ordinance approved in a 4-2 vote.
Some council members cited pedestrian safety while voting to pass the measure. Others worried barring right turn on red will cause more gridlock in an already badly congested downtown Paterson.
“I’ve seen people turning right when pedestrians are crossing,” said Luis Velez, 5th Ward councilman. A report attached to the measure states right turn on red contributes to an increase in accidents. It also references the no turn on red at any time in New York City and from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. in Chicago.
Some pedestrians may fail to watch for turning cars while crossing, according to the report.
“We have a pedestrian traffic issue. We’ve had significant injury and in some cases deaths as a result of pedestrian safety concerns that exists in our city. I think this is a step in trying to correct that particularly in the downtown area,” added William McKoy, 3rd Ward councilman.
“Pedestrian safety is paramount,” remarked Andre Sayegh, 6th Ward councilman. “This ordinance is data-driven.”
“Where’s the data?” asked Michael Jackson, 1st Ward councilman. There was no data in the report attached to the ordinance. There are general statistics on accidents at intersections – nothing specific to Paterson nor the downtown area.
The report makes reference to a 2010 study called the “Paterson City-Wide Transportation Assessment Report” without data. That report presumably had statistics which were relied upon to call for the no turn on red in those 16 intersections.
“I think this will cause more gridlock,” said Jackson.
Kenneth Morris, councilman at-large, said congestion is relived when motorists are able to make right turns on red.
Sayegh, McKoy, Velez, and Shahin Khalique voted in favor of the measure while Morris and Jackson voted against.
The council held a public hearing on the measure before final approval. There were no speakers.
Turn on red will be prohibited in most of the intersections from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.:
- Main Street and Broadway
- Main Street and Van Houten Street
- Main Street and Ellison Street
- Main Street and Market Street
- Main Street and Ward Street
- Grand Street and Railroad Avenue (no turn on red anytime)
- Main Street and Grand Street
- Grand Street and Marshall Street
- Grand Street and Mill Street
- Mill Street and McBride Avenue extension (no turn on red any time)
- Memorial Drive and Ellison Street
- Memorial Drive and Market Street
- Market Street and Washington Street
- Market Street and Cianci Street
- Market Street and Mill Street
- Market Street and Spruce Street (no turn on red any time).