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New Pedestrian HAWK Signal coming to 11th and Florida Ave, NE

by Prince Of Petworth July 25, 2013 at 3:15 pm 4 Comments


Previous HAWK systems have been installed in Cleveland Park and Chevy Chase.

From DDOT:

“On or about Wednesday, July 31 at approximately 10:30 a.m. the newly installed pedestrian HAWK (High-Intensity Activated crossWalK) signal at the Florida Avenue and 11th Street NE intersection will be made fully operational. This pedestrian HAWK signal is the sixth one to be installed in the District by the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) to help pedestrians safely cross high traffic volume streets.

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.

This pedestrian HAWK signal is currently operating in a flashing yellow mode to acclimate and alert drivers to the new signal. The HAWK’s full signal cycle and push buttons will be operational on or about July 31.

How Does A HAWK Signal Work

The HAWK signal is designed with a signal-beacon to help pedestrians safely cross busy streets.

While it appears differently to motorists, to the pedestrian the signal works similarly to other push-button-activated traffic signals in the District by stopping traffic with a red signal for vehicular traffic and allowing pedestrians to cross with a WALK signal.

For motorists, the HAWK signal displays standard signal indications but in a new sequence. When not in use, the HAWK signal is dark, and motorists should proceed normally. When activated, it will display a flashing yellow light, indicating to drivers to proceed with caution. Next it will display a solid yellow light for four seconds, indicating to drivers that they should slow down and prepare to stop. Next it will display a solid red, indicating to drivers to stop. Pedestrians will get a WALK signal at this point. Next, the motorists’ signal will flash red in an alternating pattern to indicate to drivers that they may proceed, after stopping, if the crosswalk is clear and it is safe to do so.”

  • gotryit

    I’ve had a taxi driver rant at me because I stopped for a pedestrian in a crosswalk on 16th street. I’d love to see more of these around town.

  • ah

    I find these utterly confusing.

    What happened to the traditional blinking yellow light that turns yellow and then red when a pedestrian calls for the signal?

  • Anonymous

    1 in 4 seems high to me. In my experience, it is much less than that. You basically have to start walking out into the road (as opposed to standing in the parking lane waiting) before cars will consider stopping and then it is like 1 in 10.

  • SarahB

    I agree with the previous posts that drivers almost never yield to crosswalks, but in my opinion these lights are just as dangerous. I live in Cleveland Park, and even after several weeks of having the light, it seems that drivers don’t understand when they are supposed to stop and when they are supposed to go, so they end up doing whatever the person next to them or in front of them does. The explanation in this article makes it sound simple (and maybe it should be), but the light sometimes seems to flash randomly and in no particular order. Since the pedestrian signals are the same, walkers know when they are supposed to go, and will likely boldly enter the street as if it were any other red light. Because of the uncertainty they cause drivers, I think these are a really bad idea, especially on busy, fast streets like northbound Connecticut Avenue (where, by the way, absolutely NO ONE would EVER EVER EVER stop for a pedestrian to cross the road during rush hour). What’s wrong with the solid green, yellow, red of an ordinary traffic light?


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