Daily Worcesteria reports they walked back and forth across Main Street today, holding signs with slogans like "Let us cross. It's the LAW!"
They do that in Boston all the time - it's called jaywalking.
In the meantime, I will continue to reclaim my right of way when I have green lights on turns with a red hand in the crosswalks, typically accomplished with leaning on the horn.
That letter of the state law states that pedestrians always have the right of way in a crosswalk. That's regardless of whatever the automated signals say. Not so great for drivers when pedestrians are inconsiderate of signals, but then again many drivers are inconsiderate of red lights and walk signals as well.
OK - I'm not picking a fight - I want an honest answer to what is a vastly mis-understood law.
Before we start shouting, read this and tell me what you think:
It's clear from the opening line that this pedestrian right-of-way is for UNMARKED crosswalks, and it is clear about investigating accidents... but what about MARKED (lit) crosswalks? I recall reading that crossing against a signals is illegal/jaywalking, and something about 'no pesestrian shall proceed into a crosswalk at a fast pace' or something but now I can't find it anywhere. BUt I also recall that, even if they are jaywalking/breaking the law and they themselves could get a jaywalking ticket, you as a driver have no right to proceed through a crosswalk unless clear.
Where is the section for crosswalks with control signals? Anyone?
Section 11. When traffic control signals are not in place or not in operation the driver of a vehicle shall yield the right of way, slowing down or stopping if need be so to yield, to a pedestrian crossing the roadway within a crosswalk marked in accordance with standards established by the department of highways if the pedestrian is on that half of the traveled part of the way on which the vehicle is traveling or if the pedestrian approaches from the opposite half of the traveled part of the way to within 10 feet of that half of the traveled part of the way on which said vehicle is traveling.
At any intersection on ways, as defined in section one of chapter ninety, in which vehicular traffic is facing a steady red indication in a traffic control signal, the driver of a vehicle which is stopped as close as practicable at the entrance to the crosswalk or the near side of the intersections or, if none, then at the entrance to the intersection in obedience to such red or stop signal, may make either (1) a right turn or (2) if on a one-way street may make a left turn to another one-way street, but shall yield the right-of-way to pedestrians and other traffic proceeding as directed by the signal at said intersection.
...and for the sake of throughness, http://www.mass.gov/legis/laws/mgl/90-14.htm
Upon approaching a pedestrian who is upon the traveled part of any way and not upon a sidewalk, every person operating a motor vehicle shall slow down.
If the traffic signal says pedestrians shouldn't be in the road, you have no obligation to stop in the crosswalk for them- you are expected to slow. Obviously, you can't purposefully endanger them.
We've had this discussion many, many times on UHub. The law pretty clearly states that pedestrians only have the right of way when there are no operating traffic signals. When they have a BIG RED HAND, they need to wait. And yes, obviously this law doesn't mean drivers may hit them.
(Also, every time we have this discussion, several people insist that, no, pedestrians all know the law, but they just cross against the BIG RED HAND to be assholes. Then several people post insisting that the law is that pedestrians always have the right of way. Which I'd think proves the point that a lot of people don't actually know the laws.)
((Also, I work with families with toddlers, and I frequently have parents tell me what a bunch of assholes people are, because they were walking across the middle of a street and the cars all honked and didn't stop for them and their toddler. Then I ask if they were in a crosswalk, and they say, no, the cars have to stop everywhere.))
I'm glad i'm not the only one bemused by this subject. I was recently entertained by a woman in her mid-20's defiantly crossing busy Boylston by Shaws/Ring Road against all traffic signals (and against all common sense) and stop to flip the 'double bird' to everyone beeping, and scream that she had the right of way. She was so confident in her scathing mid-street soapbox lecturing that I almost began to doubt my interpretation of the law. That's what I find funny- people are actually militant about this but they are dead wrong about it.
I am guilty of screaming at cars that run non-signal crosswalks (actually, I have been that crazy lunatic
about a dozen times at Newbury and Fairfield) but I also want to stop and lecture the idiots that mutter some garbage about "hey dude, pedestrian right of way!" when they are crossing against the Big Red Hand and I am trying to follow the auto signals.
...there is what looks like a functional walk light, but it never cycles to "walk". Are pedestrians supposed to stand on the curb forever in such cases? ;~}
THIS. "Push button for walk signal" is one of the biggest lies in this city.
Seriously, try pushing the buttons at Monument Square or South and Child streets. It's like playing god. It's a sweet bit of schadenfreude to bring South Street traffic to a complete halt so I can get over to St. Thomas' without taking a Subaru bumper to my side.
That's true. Interestingly, the two traffic lights near Forest Hills are different in their responsiveness - the one right at the station, at Hyde Park and Tower, is usually pretty good, but I've had to wait for 2.5 minutes (yes, I timed it, that's THREE light cycles, thankyouverymuch) at Ukraine and Hyde Park just up the street. Also, I remember sitting at ABP at Huntington and Forsyth watching a tourist family dutifully stand on the corner, pushing the button, for literally ten minutes and infinite light cycles before Dad finally took the kid by the hand, followed mom pushing the stroller, and made a paranoid am-I-gonna-get-arrested run for it. This is why I follow the Eeka/Will route of going when it's clear and I'm not going to inconvenience anyone.
The laws clearly states that a motor vehicle must stop for a pedestrian who has already approached the crosswalk and is clearly within the requires feet in the crosswalk. When a vehicle has a green light and there are on the sidewalk waiting to cross, the vehicle does not have to stop if it is going straight. It does has to yield to any pedestrian who is crossing on the right or the left. The signs posted clearly state must yield to pedestrians crossing (side streets).
Ofcourse, if a pedestrian has already attempted to cross on a green light, the vehicle for obvious reasons must stop or else they may hit the pedestrian.
Many pedestrians think if they are in the crosswalk they have the right of way all the time. However, crossing a main street on a green light is very dangerous and can cause a major accident. There has been a case recently where a girl was dropped off at a green light and proceeded to cross where where she was hit. The vehicle was not sited but the officer has to site the pedestrian for crossing. I'm looking for that case and will post it when I find it.
Are you the idiot that thinks that the green right turn arrow gives you the right of way at an intersection such as this one?
NOTE: THIS IS NOT ABOUT THE GREEN ARROW LIT UP IN THE STREETVIEW IMAGE, I SELECTED THIS IMAGE BECAUSE THE PREVIOUS ONE IS BLOCKED BY THE SUN. I am refering to the signal that drivers going eastbound/inbound on comm ave see
Ive been honked at by idiots driving eastbound on comm ave that think the green right turn arrow pointing at the fenway bridge gives them the right of way. Look closely, theres no pedestrian signal. Green means green for EVERYBODY.
Probably the same person that thinks that these two red arrows + no turn on red sign mean you can turn on red.
I hope you do honk at me one day Will. I will stop, slowly pull out my camera, and take pictures of you and your plates. I will then slowly, very slowly, continue walking.
I cross that first intersection often, and always look over my left shoulder for cars about to turn right. Knowing I have the right away won't do me much good as I am waiting for an ambulance after having been hit.
One reason many pedestrians (myself included) cross even when the red hand is up is because the parallel traffic has a green, even in situations where that traffic cannot turn in your path. Here's one such crosswalk --
Beacon Street inbound traffic will have a red light, with cars ahead turning into Kenmore Square, yet the red hand will be up. Perhaps if the pedestrian signals better reflected when it was safe to cross, more pedestrians would obey them.
Really, I'm not appointing myself the crosswalk police or anything, and sure, I periodically cross against the light or outside of a crosswalk. I just don't do it when there are cars close enough to me that they'd need to slow for me, because I respect the party who has the right of way. Similarly, if I'm driving, I don't really give a rat's ass if I see someone crossing against the signal when the cars are stopped (and the timing is such that they're going to remain stopped long enough for the person to cross), or if they're crossing in the middle of the road somewhere where there isn't a corner or a crosswalk anywhere nearby. But if someone is crossing against the light or not in a crosswalk and I need to slow down for them, I'm going to either honk or offer a polite explanation of the BIG RED HAND, depending on my mood.
(BTW, I think the worst place where this happens is in the financial district near South Station around 5:00. People moo across the road in huge herds completely disregarding that there's a BIG RED HAND and a green light for the cars.)
This is the sensible answer. I cross against red hands all the time. I just don't do it WHEN THERE IS A CAR COMING THROUGH THE GREEN LIGHT THAT WOULD HAVE TO SLOW IF I WAS IN ITS WAY.
I care about other people. Simple premise, really.
I want to take someone that works with the city and show them all 13 crosswalks in Kenmore square and how every single one of them operates under different conditions.
One pair operates via button push (and grants exclusive crossing). Another counts down to zero, in which zero means 3 lanes of cars get green. Another counts down to zero, in which zero means theres another 8 seconds of no conflict to make it across 2 lanes. Yet another pair (which I pictures above with the red turn arrows) are linked together, even though one of them operates for 15-25 seconds when parallel traffic gets green.
If the city (and will) want pedestrians to respect the big red hand, then the big red hand needs to be consistent.
Imagine if in one block, the yellow light lasted for 40 seconds, and the very next block, the yellow lasted for only 2. And then the one after, the yellow operated only when a vehicle pushed a button. It would make yellow meaningless. Thats the situation with Boston and pedestrian signals. If you want people to respect them, they need to be accurate.
Google streetview makes it even easier to see.
-Cars get green, pedestrians get red hand for no reason
Look at these poor tourists obeying the big red hand. Parallel traffic has green, now is the best time to cross!
Ignore the SUV which blew past the stop line and is waiting where he cant see the light. Note the big red hand? There is no conflicting traffic.
In this image you can see two different red hands, both stopping pedestrians from crossing, even though there is no conflict
Will, do you ever walk in the city? It only takes 3 blocks to understand why the red hands are so widely disrespected.
Thanks for all the street-view links. Crossing Brookline Ave at Kenmore Square is a particularly annoying intersection. One problem is that when pedestrians do have a red hand, it is for good reason, as cars on Beacon St outbound have a protected left-turn green arrow, and the road should be clear of pedestrians too. But the intersection is so wide, that you often don't see cars starting to make that left. And inevitably there is always a car that starts the turn after the protected green has ended, and since it's such a big intersection, ends up going into the crosswalk well after the walk signal has turned to a white hand.
On a lunchtime walk down Comm Ave, I found more intsersections with right-turn arrows and no walk signal.
Both sides of Babcock Street --
At another intersection (I forget which), the don't walk red hand would start flashing and counting down, yet Comm Ave traffic still had a green for at least another ten seconds. Yet elsewhere, the traffic light changed as soon as the countdown reached zero.
Of course, by the BU Bridge, traffic off the bridge had a green, the walk signal was red, and two college-aged pedestrian massholes crossed anyway, cursing out the driver when honked at. So I'm not saying all pedestrians are golden. But given the inconsistent nature of walk signals, there's often plenty of reason to be crossing even when the hand is red.
Often, you're given the red hand even though concurrent traffic gets a green because there's a protected turn you're not seeing. For example, crossing Comm Ave onto BU Bridge has a red while the traffic coming off of the bridge across Comm Ave continues to have a green because the protected right turn of outbound Comm Ave gets a green right arrow. Sure, if you're waiting to walk down Comm Ave you're going to see a red hand, but you could cross half of the connector there. A lot of times that's because the hand is telling you if it's currently safe to cross the *entire* intersection...not just the half that you're currently standing immediately at.
Comm Ave also has a large number of protected lefts which allow one direction to keep flowing while their left lane is making the left even though the other direction is stopped. The hands will still remain red for the entire width at most of these intersections because it's not safe to go from one side of Comm Ave to the other cleanly.
Yes, but the examples are about "protected turns" where there's no protection....pedestrians have to look at the green light to know when to cross. It's even worse for pedestrians going "the wrong way" which have to look behind them to see if they can cross.
Assuming all these lights are legal, and up to code, what they suggest is that a green turn arrow provides no extra right of way to the vehicles. Just because a vehicle is given a green arrow does not mean they will not encounter conflict. Instead, the green arrow seems to suggest that it is legal to turn in that direction, and nothing more.
Your example seem to be more like this one.
Comm ave traffic has red. babcock street traffic can ONLY turn right, and yet pedestrians will get the red hand. Note that this pedestrian signal is completely independent of the one on the other side of comm ave. To cross all of comm ave (legally) you need to push two buttons and wait for two different cycles to complete.
More examples of a green arrow not meaning that the driver has the right-of-way, at Comm Ave and Charlesgate East --
Notice that drivers on Comm Ave inbound have a green left arrow, but pedestrians crossing Charlegate East have no signal at all. So cars turning left are to yield to pedestrians, otherwise pedestrians would never be able to legally cross.
For pedestrians on the other side of Comm Ave, there is a walk signal, but it turns red a full 20 seconds before the Comm Ave signal turns red. Since cars cannot turn right from Comm Ave, there is no pedestrian conflict, yet for most of the light cycle the walk signal is red.
I'm sure there are dozens of other examples where walk signals don't match up with when it is actually entirely safe to cross, free of car conflict.
What are you going to do with said photos? I can assure you that I'm an expert on driving protocols, and am more knowledgeable about the rules of the road than 90% of the drivers out there at the bare minimum. Cross against a red hand in front of my green light turn (illegal), I will blow my horn at you (legal), roll down my window (legal), call your mother the C-word (legal), and tell you to drop dead (legal.)
You can observe the rules like I do, or you can be a jerk. Your choice.
Actually, in most states, using the horn for anything other than to help prevent an accident is illegal. I'm not sure what exactly the law in Massachusetts is about horns. Perhaps someone else knows.
The point of the picture is so that if you decide to run me over, I can sue your ass into my new mansion.
That being said, such example would only happen when I have the right of way and the driver incorrectly assumes he does. This includes unmarked crosswalks (which a lot of people seem to struggle with), crosswalks at mid blocks, and vehicles turning that don't understand that the green turn arrow is wrong.
Heres another example. There was a woman that posted on this website that she was angry that pedestrians got "in her way" at this crosswalk when "she had the right of way". She is 100% wrong, it is an unsignalized crosswalk and pedestrians always have the right of way.
Heres another crosswalk where vehicles must always stop for pedestrians. Always.
...it's covered under "Offensive or illegal operation of motor vehicles" and says "No person operating a motor vehicle shall sound a bell, horn or other device, nor in any manner operate such motor vehicle so as to make a harsh, objectionable or unreasonable noise".
and the RMV drivers manual (PDF) reminds us to not use your horn to warn other drivers of safety problems, or to avoid accidents, but not to use them to express anger, get a slow driver to speed up, or to get other people to move in a traffic jam.
Basically, it comes down to how the word "reasonable" is intepreted by the cops and/or courts. From my experience, it pretty much goes on a case by case basis.
Right, the driver's guide says the horn is only for alerting someone to something they didn't see etc. I could see it being reasonable to tap (not blare) the horn at someone crossing against a light, so as to alert them that your car is going to continue through the intersection legally, and they're going to want to move their jaywalking ass out of the crosswalk.
However, the other day I was pulled over with my hazards on in the rightmost lane of a four-lane road with light traffic and clear visibility. A bunch of asswads leaned on their horns behind me, complete with shouting and gestures. Then a cop came up behind this line of honkers, paused a bit, went around to the left while the people continued honking and shouting for probably a little over a minute. What. And sure, it would have also been legit for the cop to ask me if I was broken down, and if not, to move along. But the cop did none of this and apparently just thought it was fine for people to blare horns at someone with hazards indicating they're pulled over instead of freakin going around.
in the direction the arrow is pointing. Further, a green arrow indicates that a vehicle can legally turn in that direction free of conflict from other drivers OR pedestrians. Sorry, but a pedestrian walking straight in front of a vehicle turning on a right green arrow signal does NOT have the right of way over the driver unless the green arrow is accompanied by a WALK signal.
Except at the intersection of Comm Ave and Charlesgate, there is not a walk signal for pedestrians going inbound on Comm Ave. So by that logic, pedestrians will never be able to cross, because cars on Comm Ave either have a green right-turn arrow or cars on Charlesgate have the green. Again, the lack of consistency is what leads pedestrians to just ignore the walk signals and to go when they feel it is safe. The hypothetical example is a situation where the yellow stayed on for different lengths of time at different intersections is a perfect one.
Look at the picture again. Like Saul said, if you were correct, then a pedestrian could NEVER cross there. There is always vehicular conflict as there is no phase where turns are prohibited.
And I will happily jaywalk. The fine for me jaywalking is $1. The fine for not yielding to a pedestrian in a crosswalk is $100. I will gleefully break the law and subject myself to a $1 fine if you also break the law and subject yourself to a $100 fine.
Regardless of the law, YOU ARE IN A CAR. You have over a thousand pounds of metal that you're hauling around with you. That means you've got to be aware of where you point that dangerous thing before stepping on the gas.
If a vehicle is already breaking the law, then you wouldn't really be jaywalking now would you?
I have got to be aware of where I point it before stepping on the gas, and YOU have got to be aware of the fact that disregarding the law in a potential confrontation with (far) over a thousand pounds of metal is not smart. If I have to be smart about how I use my car in the road, you should have to be smart about how you use your legs in the road. I would never cast aside the law that says pedestrians have the right of way, so why do you get to ignore the signal against you when I can not ignore the signal when it's against me? I enjoyed the way you cast aside the law because it doesn't sound right to you.
so you will put your body weight against a a car thats wights 3-4thousands pounds. thats very smart of you.
At Congress St (I think) by the Federal Reserve there is a turn signal for right hand turns. The opposite side of the street is one way coming at you so turning right is the only option (unless playing chicken). My question is whether the right turn on red applies to this signal. Some drivers stop at the signal and wait for it to turn green. Other drivers just continue to turn though the signal is red. Whether the Walk signal is lit or not is irrelevant to these drivers.
I recall this question asked in the Starts and Stops column in the Globe a few years ago. I always thought that a red arrow meant the same as a No Turn on Red sign. But as it turns out, unless a No Turn On Red sign is posted, right turn on red is allowed, regardless of whether the signal is a solid red ball or a red arrow.
Wow this gets people talking!
Anyone want to vent about drivers and/or pedestrians that don't know about LEFT ON RED?
on a red arrow unless there is a sign present ALLOWING you to turn on red, which contradicts the normal understanding drivers have that you can turn right on a red signal unless there is a sign posted.
Because this concept violates both Massachusetts state law AND driver expectancy regarding right turn on red, Massachusetts has amended the federal code to require that a right red arrow always be accompanied by a "No Turn On Red" sign. As this change makes the Massachusetts requirement more stringent than the Federal one, it's perfectly legal - and also shows some common sense.
"As of 1992, right turn on red is governed federally by 42 U.S.C. § 6322(c) ("Each proposed State energy conservation plan to be eligible for Federal assistance under this part shall include: ...(5) a traffic law or regulation which, to the maximum extent practicable consistent with safety, permits the operator of a motor vehicle to turn such vehicle right at a red stop light after stopping, and to turn such vehicle left from a one-way street onto a one-way street at a red light after stopping.")."
Also, MA can't "amend the federal code", since it's a STATE.
You're one confused child, son. Maybe you should stick to choo-choos.
First, that quote refers to red lights, not red arrows. Second, states are welcome to ignore that, as it only relates to qualifying their traffic laws for federal funding under energy conservation programs. Third, I'm sure roadman was referring to the Uniform Vehicle Code, which is not federally mandated, but is rather a proposed (and often accepted) set of private guidelines for traffic codes.
C. Steady red signal indications shall have the following meanings:
1. Vehicular traffic facing a steady CIRCULAR RED signal indication alone shall stop at a
clearly marked stop line, but if there is no stop line, traffic shall stop before entering the
crosswalk on the near side of the intersection; or if there is no crosswalk, then before entering
the intersection, and shall remain stopped until a signal indication to proceed is shown, or as
Except when a sign is in place prohibiting a turn on red or a RED ARROW signal
indication is displayed (emphasis added), vehicular traffic facing a CIRCULAR RED signal indication is permitted to enter the intersection to turn right, or to turn left from a one-way street into a
one-way street, after stopping. Such vehicular traffic shall yield the right-of-way to pedestrians
lawfully within an adjacent crosswalk and to other traffic lawfully using the intersection.
2. Vehicular traffic facing a steady RED ARROW signal indication shall not enter the intersection
to make the movement indicated by the arrow and, unless entering the intersection to make
another movement permitted by another signal indication, shall stop at a clearly marked stop
line; but if there is no stop line, before entering the crosswalk on the near side of the
intersection, or if there is no crosswalk, then before entering the intersection, and shall remain
stopped until a signal indication permitting the movement indicated by such RED ARROW is
When an R10-17a sign (see Section 2B.45) is in place permitting a turn on a RED ARROW
signal indication, vehicular traffic facing a RED ARROW signal indication is permitted to
enter the intersection to turn right, or to turn left from a one-way street into a one-way street,
after stopping. Such vehicular traffic shall yield the right-of-way to pedestrians lawfully within
an adjacent crosswalk and to other traffic lawfully using the intersection.
Chapter 89, Section 8 of the Massachusetts General Laws states in part: At any intersection on ways, as defined in section one of chapter ninety, in which vehicular traffic is facing a steady red indication (enphasis added) in a traffic control signal, the driver of a vehicle which is stopped as close as practicable at the entrance to the crosswalk or the near side of the intersections or, if none, then at the entrance to the intersection in obedience to such red or stop signal, may make either (1) a right turn or (2) if on a one-way street may make a left turn to another one-way street, but shall yield the right-of-way to pedestrians and other traffic proceeding as directed by the signal at said intersection, except that a city or town, subject to section two of chapter eighty-five, by rules, orders, ordinances, or by-laws, and the department of highways on state highways or on ways at their intersections with a state highway, may prohibit any such turns against a red or stop signal at any such intersection, and such prohibition shall be effective when a sign is erected at such intersection giving notice thereof.
Unlike the MUTCD and the Uniform Vehicle Code, MGL Chapter 89 Section 8 does not distingush between red solid ball and red arrow indications. That is why a provision was added to the Massachusetts MUTCD amendments requiring that No Turn On red signs be posted for both steady red and red arrow signals.
And the Federal Government does permit states to amend the MUTCD standards, provided such amendments do not result in less stringent requirements or standards than the Federal MUTCD calls for.
For example, Massachusetts could not adopt a standard or law that states that drivers are not required to ever stop while making a right turn on a red arrow, as this would directly contradict the Federal standard.
And Mike, unlike the Uniform Vehicle Code, states ARE mandated to follow the requirements of the Federal MUTCD. In fact, Chapter 85 Section 2 of the MGL requires such conformance in Massachusetts.
I think you will all agree that this is hardly fantasy land we're dealing with here.
...but from the MA driver's manual:
Steady Red Arrow
A steady red arrow means the same as a steady red, circular signal (see the preceding Steady Red section), but a steady red arrow applies only to vehicles intending to proceed in the direction of the arrow. The same rules for “turning on red” apply.
Just for fun, Google "right on red arrow" and you'll find all sorts of confusion. ;-)
FYI, I go right on red arrow after stopping - no logical reason not to. The only reason the arrow is there is because the lane is right-turn-only, but it's still a red light.
right turn arrow besides exclusive lanes and the fact traffic can't go straight through. The most oommon one is because the opposing left turns have an exclusive green arrow phase. Another popular one is to accommodate a pedestrina phase that is exclusive only for certain traffic movements instead of the entire intersection.
Allowing right turns under these conditions creates a potential conflict. And, as most anyone who observes Massachusetts drivers can attest to, drivers tend to ignore the fact that RTOR is permitted after a full stop.
And, as you point out, most drivers don't make the distinction between a red ball and a red arrow when it comes to right turn on red. Hence the reason the state MUTCD amendments were changed to call right turn arrow an "automatic" RTOR condition. Or would you prefer we citizens try to get the law changed to distingush between a red ball and a red arrow. I can imagine the Legislature trying to deal with that one - heck, they can't even deal with the simple concept that texting while driving is idiotic behavior.
BTW, the "rules and recommendations" in the RMV driver's manual don't always precisely reflect the law.
Where this is REALLY confusing is when a right-turn-only lane splits off on it's own but then has a signal just for that lane, for example going from Route 16 west onto Route 2 west in Cambridge. Is that considered a right turn at that point, or is it considered going straight? Would it be considered turning right on red?
Here's the StreetView:
Ugh, dont even bring up that set of lights. Worst ones in the state, the whole lot of them. The one pictured seems to be timed to provide green when nobody is around and turn red just in time for traffic to arrive and have to stop.
Never mind the "3 lanes of traffic shall get green at the same time to cross an intersection with only 2 lanes on the opposite side. Enjoy."
"parkways" that read "SIGNALS TIMED TO REQUIRE FREQUENT STOPS"?
Yeah that whole set of intersections really is a mess. The best is when the two lanes from Route 2 westbound get a green light to go east on Route 16 at the same time as the two lanes already on Route 16 east traffic have a green light. So you have four lanes merging into two at a single point, with no yield signs for either side.
Wanna create a meta-situation to ponder?
Try this one:
Right turn at BU Bridge/Comm Ave
It's a right turn...separate lane between an island and the curb...with no separate signal...where the green light is a "straight arrow" not a full circle green light...with a crosswalk just for crossing the right turn lane...with no walk signal for pedestrians...that leads to crossing a bike lane on Comm Ave...
Can you go right on red? Without stopping? Do you have to stop for pedestrians first? Do you have to stop for pedestrians on a green "straight" arrow? Is it legal to cross the bike path on red?
Personally, I believe most traffic has developed a reasonable approach to this intersection (which I travel every day). Traffic will stop and wait on a red until all pedestrians are clear, then inch past the crosswalk where there's room to look over your shoulder to merge onto Comm Ave. On a green light, most pedestrians stop on the curb and allow traffic coming off the bridge to flow unhindered through the turn and onto Comm Ave without stopping at all.
The right turn is separated by a raised island, and the right turn movement does not have a traffic signal specifically controlling it - the signals facing traffic coming off the BU bridge do NOT control this right turn, as they are NOT visible to traffic stopped in the right turn area waiting for Comm Ave west to clear. Therefore, traffic can legally make a right turn to Comm. Ave west at all times, but must still abide to the basic right of way laws - i.e. - they MUST yield to both pedestrians in the crosswalk across the right turn AND traffic on Commonwealth Avenue westbound.
Since there is no signal for the right turn movement, ideally, there should be a Yield sign at the point where this right turn merges with Comm Ave.
And, as there are no pedestrian signals governing the crosswalk across this "free right" turn, pedestrians have the right of way over right turning traffic.
Based on your description of how drivers and pedestrians actually use this intersection, it seems they understand these concepts as well.
During "green light" phase of the intersection cycle, people turning right don't abide by the "pedestrian right of way" and pedestrians don't care to usually assert it either (since the hand signal at the next crosswalk is red). So, while they should let the pedestrians amass on the island (or get from the island to the curb) even when the signal is green for through traffic off of the bridge, most of the times cars ignore the pedestrians and take advantage of the stopped Comm Ave traffic to make free flowing right turns.