The Right of Way: Lawmakers Look Into Turn Restrictions

Feb 12, 2018

Credit AP Photo / Cliff Owen

Should local governments be able to restrict which drivers can make turns? Lawmakers in Richmond are debating it, and Michael Pope is at the Capitol with the latest.

Local governments across Virginia want to create stickers that local drivers put on their cars allowing them to turns into or out of restricted neighborhoods during rush hour on neighborhood streets. But they would need permission from the General Assembly to do that. A bill that would have done that sped through a Senate Committee but then hit a roadblock on the Senate floor. Republican Senator Dick Black of Loudoun.

“How are those individuals who go to the mighty county of Fairfax to understand that this is a requirement there?”

The mighty county of Fairfax might run Northern Virginia. But it can be unpopular in other parts of the state. Democratic Senator Barbara Favola of Arlington tried to explain the bill.

“There would be signs posted about no right turns or no left turn unless permit shown. So the drivers from around the commonwealth would actually be able to see the sign pretty clearly.”

The vote was 20 to 20 in the Senate, which could have been an opportunity for Democratic Lieutenant Justin Fairfax to break his first tie. But he was away at a family event, so he couldn’t break the logjam on this bill and another that would have allowed for party identification of registered voters. Both of the bills died.

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.