VISALIA, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) – A new style of pedestrian crossing is now in operation in Visalia – and it might be something you have not seen before.
The HAWK system can be found at Lovers Lane and Packwood Creek Trail Crossing. HAWK (which stands for High-intensity Activated crossWalK) is essentially a pedestrian crossing with two red lights and one yellow light. When the three lights are all off traffic is allowed to travel through the crossing without stopping.
The HAWK system is activated when a pedestrian presses the crossing button, which will activate a flashing yellow light warning drivers approaching the crossing that they must prepare to come to a stop. After that, a solid yellow light will show meaning slow down and come to a stop. When it is safe, the pedestrian will see the countdown light up – giving them time to cross the road – just like any other pedestrian crossing. At that time, drivers at the crossing will see two solid red lights indicating that they should come to a complete stop and wait.
After the solid red lights, the red lights will then start flashing. That means drivers can proceed with caution so long as there is no one using the crossing (like a stop sign). Any drivers approaching the crossing while the red lights are flashing must come to a complete stop first – then proceed forward after they have made sure there is no one using the crossing.
When the HAWK crossing is not being used anymore the lights will all be off again, meaning traffic can once again travel through the crossing without stopping.
The City of Visalia has also posted a video online to show drivers how to use the new HAWK system. According to the federal Department of Transportation, the HAWK system contributed to a 69% reduction in pedestrian crashes.