Safely using the pedestrian ‘Hybrid’ beacons in Pinedale
Tyler and Pine
SAFETY WITH HAWK – The new HAWK system installed earlier this month at the intersections of US 191 and Tyler and Lake Avenues are designed to help pedestrians cross the highway safely when used correctly. It is essential that pedestrians remain on the sidewalk until they receive a WALK signal as traffic on US 191 does not come to a stop until the system is activated. The gap in mainline traffic actually helps drivers from the side streets as the drivers on the north side of the highway may make a right turn onto the highway after coming to a complete stop; to turn left, they must yield to oncoming traffic and any pedestrian in the crosswalk. Drivers on the south side of US 191 may make a left turn onto the highway after yielding to oncoming traffic and to make a right turn, they must yield to any pedestrian in the crosswalk. Graphic courtesy Theresa Herbin, Wyoming Department of Transportation.
by Wyoming Department of Transportation
July 26, 2011
PINEDALE – The new traffic devices installed earlier this month at two locations on US 191, Pine Street, are designed to help pedestrians cross the highway safely but many people have never used them before, as they are the first of its kind in Wyoming.
These new hybrid pedestrian crossing beacons, called ‘HAWK,’ were installed on Pine Street earlier this month at the intersections of Tyler Avenue and Lake Avenue, replacing the single flashing yellow beacons both pedestrians and drivers are accustomed to. ‘HAWK’ is an acronym for High intensity Activated crossWalK.
These signals have been used safely and successfully in a number of cities across the country for the past several years. The HAWK system not only looks different from other pedestrian signals, but they have been shown to bring a higher rate of compliance than traditional pedestrian signals on stopping traffic so pedestrians can cross much more safely, when used correctly.
When no pedestrians are present, the beacon over the traffic lanes stays dark, allowing traffic to flow through the intersection. However, when a pedestrian presses the walk button, drivers will see a FLASHING YELLOW for three seconds, where they should reduce their speed and be prepared to stop for a pedestrian in the crosswalk. The FLASHING YELLOW is followed by a SOLID YELLOW for another three seconds and then by a solid RED, requiring traffic to STOP at the stop bar.
Pedestrians should remain on the sidewalk until they receive a WALK signal that lasts five seconds and a countdown head will show the remaining time to cross the street. At the end of the WALK cycle, the pedestrian sees a FLASHING DON’T WALK signal for 20 seconds before the signal goes dark again for both pedestrians and drivers, completing the pedestrian crossing cycle and traffic flow continues as normal.
To remain safe, pedestrians must stay on the sidewalk until the WALK signal activates, as mainline traffic does not actually stop until then.
During the entire pedestrian crossing period (25 seconds,) drivers on the mainline will see a SOLID RED light. Drivers approaching the intersection from the side street must also come to a complete stop, although they have no signal. Although the signal shows SOLID RED for mainline drivers, drivers approaching the intersection from the north side of Pine Street can legally make a right turn to go west after they have come to a complete stop. Drivers wishing to turn left must come to a complete stop and yield to pedestrians in the adjacent crosswalk as well as oncoming traffic.
Drivers on the south side of Pine Street wishing to make a left turn must come to a complete stop and may make their turning movement after yielding to oncoming traffic. Should the driver wish to make a right turn, they must come to a complete stop and yield to pedestrians in the adjacent crosswalk.
When motorists are alert, observe signs, maintain the posted speed limit, and pay attention to the traffic patterns; the safety of everyone is enhanced.