HAWK Lands in Juneau
DOT&PF Activates New Traffic Signal Near Middle School
(JUNEAU, Alaska) – A new pedestrian traffic signal, the first of its type in Alaska, is now functional near Juneau’s Floyd Dryden Middle School. The High Intensity Activated Crosswalk, known as HAWK, is located on Mendenhall Loop Road.
The system is activated by pressing a pedestrian button just like those found at other intersection signals. After the button is pressed the HAWK displays the following signals for motorists:
1. Flashing yellow: Drivers should prepare to stop.
2. Solid yellow: Drivers approaching the crosswalk must stop. Drivers already at the crosswalk may proceed.
3. Two-lamp solid red: Drivers must remain stopped at the crosswalk.
4. Two-lamp flashing red: Drivers who were stopped at the solid red may proceed if pedestrians have cleared the crosswalk. Drivers approaching the crosswalk must stop, and then may proceed if pedestrians have cleared.
5. At the end of the crossing phase, all vehicle red and yellow signals go dark and the pedestrian signals have a conventional “Don’t Walk” figure.
“Crosswalk” and “Stop on red here” signs will also be posted. Pedestrians will see conventional “Walk” and “Don’t” figures, along with a countdown timer, as they cross Mendenhall Loop Road.
The HAWK system differs from conventional stop lights in that it remains dark until a pedestrian pushes the button. When dark, the HAWK may be misinterpreted by motorists as a traffic signal that has gone out-of-service, which would require them to stop. That is not necessary with a HAWK. Motorists should only stop at the HAWK when the yellow or red lamps are displayed as described above, or when pedestrians are in the crosswalk.School crossing guards will be present in the morning when school starts and in the afternoon when school gets out. The new system was funded by a Safe Routes to Schools grant. As at all crosswalks, pedestrians should always look both ways and wait for vehicles to stop before they cross, even if they have a “Walk” indication. The HAWK has been installed to improve the safety of school children. However, that goal can only be realized with the help and cooperation of the public. People are reminded to pay attention to and obey the new signal.