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Mayor Gray Announces "HAWK" Pedestrian Signal, 4/30/13

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Published on Jun 27, 2013

Mayor Vincent C. Gray and representatives from the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) meet at the site of a newly installed pedestrian HAWK (High-Intensity Activated crossWalK) signal, at Connecticut Avenue and Northampton Street in Northwest Washington, to demonstrate how the new signal works.

"My administration is committed to identifying and implementing the tools and technologies that will help create safer street conditions throughout the District," Mayor Gray said. "In the Sustainable DC Plan we released earlier this year, we set an aggressive-but-realistic goal of increasing the use of public transit, biking, and walking to comprise 75 percent of all commuter trips in the District in the next 20 years. To meet this goal, we must continue to improve overall street safety for all."

DDOT is installing the HAWK signals as a new tool to help get people across the street in a safe manner at places where it would otherwise be difficult to install a standard traffic signal. HAWK signals can be installed on streets with regular traffic signals as part of the District's coordinated signal system.

DDOT installed the District's first HAWK signal in 2009 at a pilot location on Georgia Avenue and Hemlock Street NW. The signal at this location has remained in operation since it was first installed and has significantly improved pedestrian safety in the area. After positive testing results in the District and across the nation, the HAWK signal (or Pedestrian Hybrid Beacon, as it is officially known) was approved for use by the Federal Highway Administration in 2010.

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.

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