Traffic | WCTV Eyewitness News: Tallahassee, Thomasville, Valdosta

New Midtown Pedestrian Signal is First in Tallahassee

By: Garin Flowers, City of Tallahassee News Release Email
By: Garin Flowers, City of Tallahassee News Release Email

Tallahassee, Florida- August 20, 2012

It can stop traffic with light signals, but it's not a traffic light. It's called the Hawk, which stands for High-Intensity Activated crosswalk.

It's a new traffic device to help pedestrians cross busy streets. It's the first one in Tallahassee and is located at the corner of Gadsden Street and Fifth Avenue.

That's right near Whataburger in Midtown. People looking to cross the street, just press the button and wait for the signal.

"Before the signal went in pedestrians just had to cross at their own free will and just shoot for a gap in traffic and now they can go up and activate a button and get a protected walk signal," said Allen Secreast with the City of Tallahassee.

When a pedestrian pushes the button, drivers will first see a flashing yellow light, then a solid yellow light to a solid red light.

The red lights will then start flashing red, until the lights turn off completely. Cars don't have to stop when the lights are completely off.

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Tallahasee, Florida - August 20, 2012

The City of Tallahassee has activated its first Pedestrian Hybrid Beacon on Gadsden Street at 5th Avenue. Nicknamed the HAWK, the signal is a High-intensity Activated cross-WalK. It is a new kind of traffic control device designed to help pedestrians cross busy streets. With school starting back today, this new device will help improve safety in the area for students, families and professionals travelling between the adjacent neighborhood, including the Sue McCollum Community Center in Lafayette Park, and the shops, eateries and more that Midtown has to offer.

The HAWK stops traffic with a unique beacon configuration – two red lights over a single yellow light. Much like a signalized intersection, when the indication is solid red, vehicles must stop so that pedestrians can safely cross the roadway.

When a pedestrian pushes the button, approaching drivers will see a FLASHING YELLOW light for a few seconds, indicating the beacon has been activated. The flashing yellow is followed by a SOLID YELLOW light, indicating that motorists should reduce speed and be prepared to stop. The solid yellow is followed by double SOLID RED lights, requiring drivers to stop. The double solid red lights are then followed by double FLASHING RED lights. While motorists can proceed on flashing red if the crosswalk is completely cleared, they are encouraged to wait. Following the flashing red, the HAWK will then go DARK, allowing vehicles to proceed until the beacon is activated again by a pedestrian.

The beacon is different in appearance to the drivers, but for pedestrians it works the same as any push button-activated traffic signal. Simply walk up, push the button and wait until you are given the walk sign to cross.

Drivers should be aware that the HAWK beacon remains dark for traffic unless a pedestrian activates the push-button.

The City of Tallahassee continues to place a high priority on pedestrian safety, as well as safety for all road users. Drivers are reminded to stop and give the right-of-way to all pedestrians legally within crosswalks.

For more information, please contact Allen Secreast with the Public Works Department at 891-8273.


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