Safety is an important element of the Regional Transportation Authority plan. RTA roadway projects incorporate safety into the design in various ways. RTA-funded bus pullouts, for example, keep traffic safely moving through an intersection. Other intersection safety improvements include features such as added turn lanes or enhanced directional signage for bike riders. And another roadway safety feature is a signalized pedestrian crosswalk called a HAWK, short for “high-intensity activated crosswalk.”
You will know a HAWK when you see it. Typically, HAWKS are installed mid-block. The light panels are high above the roadway and easily visible to drivers. Pedestrians and bicyclists activate the signal at ground level.
RTA Transportation Safety Program Coordinator Gabe Thum says HAWKS are easy to use and help increase safety. “They are built with the user in mind, and they help everybody get home legally and safely. There is a 29% reduction in all crashes associated with HAWK locations. That means that everyone on the road, including drivers, are getting into fewer crashes because of these installations.”
The RTA has funded 65 HAWKS that are located across the region, in every community. The most recently activated HAWK lights are at Speedway and Richey Boulevards and 22nd Street and Belvedere Avenue.
So, here is a little HAWK light 101: When a pedestrian or someone on a bike presses the button, solid yellow lights warn drivers to slow down. Next come flashing yellow lights that inform drivers to prepare to stop. A solid red light means stop. Someone is about to cross the street. The last phase is red flashing lights. Drivers must stop and may proceed if the crossing is clear.
Check out this Hawk 101 video to learn more!