Is a brake to turning right in San Francisco on the horizon?

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Going forward, you could be in the wrong for turning right on red in San Francisco. The idea to potentially prohibit right turns at red lights came up at Tuesday's San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency's Board of Directors meeting.

Like most major cities San Francisco is struggling with how to balance shared spaces between pedestrians, cyclists, and motorists.

Sherry Olsen gets it. She has lived in the city since 1991.

"Sometimes, I'm the driver in the electric car, sometimes I'm the bike. Sometimes, I'm walking in the crosswalk," Olsen said.

At Tuesday night's SFMTA Board of Directors meeting, Amanda Eaken suggested a new solution to make the Bay Area better; potentially prohibiting vehicles from making right turns at red lights.

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"To me, it seems the only truly protected crosswalk is the pedestrian scramble when you stop all the vehicle movement and only pedestrians are allowed to move," Eaken said on Tuesday.

Olsen has mixed feelings.

"I think every single intersection is too much just seems it would impede traffic too much," Olsen said.

Board Director Malcolm Heinicke agrees.

"It seems to be that you could be more targeted than that and figure out the intersections where there's heavy traffic, and figure out where the right turns on red are actually posing a problem," Heinicke said at Tuesday's meeting.

Still, others say pedestrian safety is more critical that the seconds saved for drivers turning right on red.

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"A human life is worth more than 30 seconds of efficiency," said Chad Womack who is visiting from Philadelphia.

"For drivers to make that turn knowing that they're not going to be hurting anybody and for pedestrians to feel like they can cross safely, it makes a lot of sense," said Naomi Housman who is visiting from Philadelphia.

"Well it's good because then you don't run over people if you have the red light, so yeah good idea," said Sabine Heffter, a driver.

This would be the first time SFMTA's Board of Directors considers it.

"It's something I think would be great for us to look at," said Director of Transportation Ed Reiskin on Tuesday.

In the meantime, drivers and pedestrians say they'll keep looking both ways.

Reiskin said one of the reasons SFMTA has not done scrambles everywhere is because of the time delay it would add to the whole transportation system including Muni.
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