Right on red? In Cambridge, not anymore.

City councilors voted Monday night to eradicate the practice.

At a crosswalk on Mass. Ave. near Central Square, Cambridge. David L. Ryan / The Boston Globe

Drivers won’t be allowed to turn right at red lights in Cambridge. City Council members voted Monday night to ban the practice, becoming one of the few municipalities in the country to do so.

The policy order was sponsored by Vice Mayor Alanna Mallon and Councillor Burhan Azeem, and councillors voted 7 to 2 to ban turning right, with only Councillors E. Denise Simmons and Paul F. Toner voting against it.

This change supports Vision Zero, an international campaign Cambridge adopted in March 2016 and updated in February 2018 that aims to eliminate “all traffic fatalities and severe injuries, while increasing safe, healthy, equitable mobility for all.” The plan advocates examining the factors that cause crashes in order to make changes accordingly.


Already over half of Cambridge’s intersections prohibit turning right on red, but Mallon and Azeem were pushing for more: “Banning turns on red Citywide is a safety improvement the City of Cambridge should consider in order to protect vulnerable road users like pedestrians and cyclists,” the policy order said.

Cambridge joins Washington, D.C., and Ann Arbor, Michigan, which both voted to eliminate right on red in their cities.


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