Can I Go Right on Red Through an Activated Pedestrian Walk Signal?

Chief Tucker answers that question and more in this edition of You Ask...Patch Answers.

It's time for another edition of You Ask…Patch Answers.

In this edition, we're sharing Chief Tucker's answers to questions he didn't get to during our .

Reader Question from Chester: Chief, what are your thoughts on opening Essex Street Again? Do you think it will be easier to patrol?

Chief Tucker: Opening Essex Street has been studied on a number of different levels. I think from a public safety standpoint the police department can handle the area issues whether it remains closed, a partial opening as some have proposed or fully open. My main concern would be the impact on traffic and the domino effect it may have on surrounding streets.

Reader Question from Bryan: Is it legal to take a right on red through an activated pedestrian walk signal? Massachusetts general law and Salem's traffic ordinances are vague on the subject. Motorist taking a right from Lafayette onto Derby are notorious for this, and more often than not on my daily commute (and frequently as a pedestrian), I see it happen with complete disregard for pedestrians attempting to use the crosswalks.

Chief Tucker: Pedestrians always have the right of way. Even in situations where right on red is allowed and heavily used, the pedestrians always have precedence and the motorists must yield to them.

Reader Question from Chester: Chief you have cameras mounted at key intersections in town. Can these be used to catch traffic scoflaws?

Chief Tucker: The cameras that the department utilize in the downtown area are not for traffic enforcement purposes and really are not the type or set up as such. They are for monitoring crowds, traffic congestion and public safety in general. There is a proposal currently in committee at the City Council to study the possibility of installing traffic enforcement cameras.

Reader Question from Roger: What sort of patrols do your officers do in neighborhoods off the beaten path? We've noticed suspected drug deals in the neighborhood in the early morning hours lately.

Chief Tucker: We employ a variety of patrols in addition to the normal police vehicles. We use motorcycles, bicycles and a combination of uniformed and undercover foot patrols. Each officer must get out of his car for 20-30 minutes to pick a spot on their beat and perform what we call a park and walk. This is the officers opportunity to meet the public as well as go to those out of the way alleys and places to look for drug activity and other illegal behavior.

Reader Question from Samuel: How does SP work with SSU PD to combat drinking/parties/peace?

Chief Tucker: We have a extremely good relationship with the University Police. In addition to serving as back up for each other, we have collaborated on training and other initiatives.

Last year we partnered SPD and SSU PD officers for night patrol in the area of the University to respond to issues that affected both of our departments. I look forward to continued work and resource sharing with them in the future.

Marie Narinkiewicz May 08, 2012 at 06:49 PM
Regarding taking a right turn on a Pedestrian walk like, I remember once being at a walkers redlight, someone took the turn, a police car coming down the street stopped this person and read him the riot act, when the walk light is on there is NO turning on red. I can't believe how many people just ignore this
gene May 09, 2012 at 03:55 AM
Michael Beaulieu - MGL Ch 89 Sec 8 says otherwise
gene May 09, 2012 at 03:56 AM
Read the law before you comment on it!
Edward May 31, 2012 at 12:28 AM
And...if there are pedestrian signals that are flashing DON'T WALK and a pedestrian continues to walk through it even though the signal states otherwise, does the pedestrian STILL have the right-of-way? In Boston, they call that "jaywalking" and there is a law against it...
Edward May 31, 2012 at 12:30 AM
People ignore the red lights anyway, whether they take a right turn on red, or not. 99% of cars that I have witnessed, take a right on red WITHOUT stopping, which is the same as going through a red light - a surchargable offense.. The law stipulates that the car must come to a full and complete stop, FIRST, before taking the right on red (and only take it when it's safe to do so.)


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