Cleveland Park Gets a HAWK Pedestrian Crosswalk Too

Connecticut Avenue NW between Ordway and Macomb Streets

Back in April we noted that Chevy Chase had upgraded their “Crosswalk Flags” to a “HAWK signal (High-Intensity Activated crossWalK)”. Cleveland Park got one too – from a DDOT:

District law requires motorists to legally stop and give the right of way to pedestrians within crosswalks. However, DDOT research has shown that on busy, high traffic roadways, only about one in four drivers are willing to stop for pedestrians in the crosswalk. If appropriate warrants are met, a HAWK signal can be installed on those roadways that do not meet engineering standards for installing a conventional traffic signal.


42 Comment

  • It’s been there for a week or two already.

    It seems like a great idea, and it’s badly needed on that block. If you spend enough time observing that area, you’ll see a lot of near misses, with people playing Frogger.

  • What an “eFfective strAtegy to sLow Cars on cOnnecticut aveNue” (FALCON)

    Seriously though. This kind of stuff is cool and DDOT should be commended for it. This particular strategy seems a bit elaborate but if it protects pedestrians, then I’m down with it.

    • Elaborate is an understatement. A traffic signal should not require a tri-fold instruction manual. In this city especially, traffic signals and signs need to be immediately intuitive to a driver from any state or country lest we just create a new problem to replace the old one. Why on earth isn’t a plain ol’ traffic light acceptable? Fire houses have them for occasionally stopping traffic and it’s obvious what they mean. There’s a crosswalk with a traditional traffic light next to Discovery’s HQ building on Georgia Ave and both pedestrians and drivers interpret it effortlessly.

      It’s mind-boggling that the HAWK system made it past the drawing board. It was clearly a joke taken too far. “High-intensity Activated crossWalK” should have been the first clue that this was an April Fool’s prank. Both the name and the “acronym” make about as much sense as the signal pattern. The consultants who recommended HAWK should be required to pay for their replacement with a less idiotic system.

  • Count me as a dissenter. This is going to really impact rush hour traffic when people start to use it. The probelm is that people are too lazy to walk 150 feet in either direction to the existing crosswalks. So the solution is to slow down a major commuting roadway to accomodate the foolish and lazy that dart across the six lanes of traffic on Connecticut?

    • Completely agree! People should be able to walk 150 ft in either direction and cross. Epic fail Cleveland Park.

      • Good call. After all, why should peds expect to safely cross a major street in a crosswalk in accordance with DC law? Epic fail, indeed.

        • Exactly! People are lazy and should be able to halt traffic on demand in the middle of a long block!

    • Yeah! Those lazy pedestrians are always getting in the way of those industrious motorists. Honk honk. Cities are for cars! Get out of the way, you bums.

      • Not my point at all. I love to walk and walk all over the city. However, this is designed to be a major way into the city for cars. My point is why add conjestion when there are already two crosswalks that can be utilized. It isn’t a cars versus walkers debate, it is a common sense issue. Why throw up obstacles to one mode of gettting around when it really is unnecessary.

        • I suppose I just feel that it is common sense that pedestrians should be able to safely cross the road. In dense urban centers, pedestrians should not be inconvenienced in order to enable faster travel by car.

        • Why throw out the term “lazy” when describing pedestrians then? Not everyone is young or able bodied. Should they not be able to get across the street safely…in their OWN CITY, minimally inconveniencing out of state drivers?
          What’s more lazy than not walking 150′ to the nearest intersection? Hmmm….perhaps not being able to move your foot from the gas to the brake and then back again?

    • Or, just put in a traditional light.

      Drivers can wait just like peds have to.

    • There is already a crosswalk there. Drivers are already supposed to stop when pedestrians are in the crosswalk. This just makes the existing situation safer.

      • I am not sure that is true. I believe the crosswalk is new.

        • The crosswalk is new. I’m happy to see it installed as I think the HAWK system is great, but tend to agree that pedestrians should be able to walk to the existing lights at the ends of the block. In reality this only benefits the disabled/elderly who weren’t making the six lane dash across Conn Ave anyway as it cuts down on walking, especially in inclement weather. Otherwise this thing is only for the “I totally have time for one more beer before at Ripple before running over to catch the beginning of my movie” crowd.

          I can’t find it, but is DDOT publishing a list of other crosswalks that are getting HAWKs? What is needed is a car/bike HAWK system for unsignaled intersections on busy roads. I’m looking at you, R and Florida NW. They are putting in a full-fledged light there when there is one a half block away at 1st and Florida, BUT the R St crossing absolutely needs one especially for bikes.

          • I was thinking Bros going to the new McFaddens.

          • I talk to other cyclists about R and Florida at least once a week. A younger blonde woman and I both made not so great decisions on when to cross there two days ago and oncoming traffic made some not so great decisions to not slow down. We were both nearly struck.
            That really is a bad intersections. Tough for drivers, tough for cyclists, tough for pedestrians.

        • Ahh, I was confusing it with another crosswalk on Conn. Then count me with the dissenters–people should walk to the corner.

  • So let’s say I’m a driver from out of town, driving into the District on Connecticut Ave. I see this signal with no lights on. My experience teaches me that when traffic signals are out, I am supposed to treat them like stop signs. So I stop, even though there is no one in the crosswalk. Thereby impeding traffic unnecessarily. Why can this thing not just have a normal traffic signal with green lights?

    • ah

      +1. Other than having more and brighter lights, why not a regular light that is pedestrian activated?

      Where I grew up (Mass.) we had blinking green lights at such signals. If a pedestrian pushed the button the light would, in due course, turn yellow and red.

      This system seems to create more confusion without increasing the safety of pedestrians above the standard arrangement.

    • a stop light that is not on should not be treated like a stop sign. One with blinking red light should be.

      • That too. But if, for example, there is a power outage, non-functioning traffic signals should be treated as stop signs as far as I’m aware.

      • Wrong. When, for instance, the power is completely out all signaled intersections default to 4-way stops.

        • It’s not wrong in general, just in the instance you provided (power is out). I think when driving down Conn Ave it is pretty clear if the power is out or not in the area (especially when there are stop lights super closeby).

          • OK, then, please give us an example of when a traffic signal is not on when it shouldn’t be treated like a stop sign. And when would a normally functioning traffic signal not be on other than when there’s a power outage?

  • So 75% of drivers break the law at crosswalks? That’s much more cause for outrage than bikes running stop signs.

    • Wouldn’t you think one drives the other? If so many motorists are running crosswalks, wouldn’t you think cyclists would exercise a bit more caution? Cyclists in this city have ZERO regard for pedestrians, motorists, or themselves. I’ve learned to wait a few seconds after every red light turns green (whether I’m in my car or on foot) for the inevitable bicycle to rush through the now-red light, or weave his way between pedestrians trying to properly cross a now protected crosswalk and/or street.

      • Here we are on a thread explaining that 75%(!) of drivers fail to yield to peds in crosswalks, and you’re complaining that it’s the cyclists who have ZERO regard for pedestrians? Come on.

    • No.

      Outrage should be spent on both the activities as both of them are illegal.

      • I’ve expressed plenty of outrage at both. That does nothing. Police need to start enforcing bike rules again. Or throw out some tacks in the bike lanes.

      • But one of them is much more likely to kill an innocent bystander. Presumably the action that causes more danger to society should be the greater cause for outrage?

      • Agreed with Identified.

        • Correct, which is why I, in my truck, take extra caution to look out for the asshole cyclists who don’t give a shit about the pedestrians (whom they could likely seriously injur. Or if said pedestrian had a dog on a leash a foot or two in front of them). Next to cab drivers, cyclists are my biggest complain about this town.

          It is not a cyclist’s right to not have to slow to a stop, weave in and out of traffic, ride against traffic, etc. They bitched and bitched for bike lanes, but disregard them entirely.

          • “weave in and out of traffic”

            If by this you mean lane splitting (riding up between stopped cars), then you’re wrong. That is perfectly legal in DC for cyclists. If you mean making unsignaled lane changes to get around cars then, yeah, that’s wrong.

          • Ceefer66….is that you?

            You’re clueless about the way cyclists operate in the city and you should stop talking about them.

  • Jesus…whats next. A crosswalk every 6 feet? God forbid someone walk 45 seconds in either direction to get the signalized crosswalks already there.

    Instead we actively eff up a 6 lane road that carries what, 30K vehicles per day. I see the back ups from one mid light cycle of this HAWK stretching half a mile or more during rush hour.

    • So wait, a pedestrian triggers the signal and all of a sudden, just like that, traffic is backed up well south of the zoo? Sounds totally plausible.

    • God forbid an elderly person or someone in a wheelchair have to trek 150 feet to cross a road. Handicapped people are just so damned entitled these days. What about my needs? Am I supposed to just sit there while they cross the street at a snail’s pace? My fellow motorists and I are being persecuted.

    • if people continuously jaywalk, over years and years, perhaps the city should actually cater to that.

      there should be one in front of the p street whole foods too.
      and calvery baptist on RIA.

      the city is for people first, not cars.

  • They should get Bruce Willis to direct traffic and call it a Hudson Hawk crosswalk.

  • Not a fan, here’s my two cents:

    They can make the best of it since it is installed already without causing more traffic problems if they just program it to only function when the lights on either side are already red. I believe they are more or less timed this way as it is but because of the massive length of the block and amount of cars on it cars are inching along and making pointless bonehead lane changes throughout the duration of red lights.

    Despite their best efforts they aren’t going anywhere during the red so using this thing to have a safe path during red lights would be perfect. Having motorists stop when the light on either side is green is really stupid.

    Alternately they could have it be controlled by traffic speed sensors and when traffic slows to a crawl just have it stop fully and let people cross or just disable it during rush hour.

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