Our friends at the Ada County Highway District are getting HAWKish on crosswalks.
HAWK stands for High-intensity Activated crossWalK signal. ACHD is testing the new type of signal near Cole Road and Ustick in an effort to increase pedestrian safety, and to determine if more HAWK signals should be installed. Tuesday is the start up day.
How it works: When not activated, the signal is dark, allowing drivers to freely pass through. It is activated when a pedestrian pushes the walk button. The HAWK signal begins flashing yellow to indicate to drivers someone will be using the crosswalk. It then goes to solid yellow like a typical traffic signal, advising drivers to prepare to stop. The signal then turns solid red, requiring drivers to stop at the crosswalk. Finally, the signal goes to flashing red, letting drivers know that after coming to a complete stop, they can proceed once the pedestrian has crossed safely. The signal then returns to the dark condition. Let’s hope it is more intuitive than the description.
The HAWK pedestrian crossing signals have greatly enhanced pedestrian safety in Tucson where it was found that the device substantially improves motorist stopping behavior, according to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). ACHD is one of the latest agencies to get permission to try the signal.
A pedestrian crossing was needed near Ustick and Cole because a new Boise library is being built nearby. The location was a good site for the HAWK signal because the pedestrian crossing is close to an existing traffic signal. The unique HAWK design will prevent the pedestrian signal from being confused with the traffic signal at Ustick and Cole.
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