HAWK Aids Safe Travel on North Avenue
Posted May 8, 2012 | Atlanta, GA
Fans of the 1980s video game Frogger may have gotten thrills in the past in getting across North Avenue, but a safer path now awaits pedestrians and vehicles alike who either travel on or traverse the busy campus border street.
A HAWK (High-Intensity Activated Crosswalk Pedestrian Signal) beacon was installed on North Avenue in 2012 to aid pedestrian and vehicular traffic.
After months of preparation and construction, a HAWK (High-intensity Activated crossWalK) beacon was activated on North Avenue outside the Alumni House in April. The new pedestrian-activated signal responds to the push of a button by those needing to cross the street. Unlike most crosswalks, the HAWK responds instantaneously and begins a series of light signal changes that lead drivers to a stop and pedestrians safely across the street.
“Over the last several years we’ve had quite a few pedestrian/vehicle accidents there,” said Georgia Tech Police Department Captain Regina Rogers. “The decision was made to put in a high-tech crosswalk for pedestrian safety for the people in the surrounding buildings and those who park in the area to help them travel safely.”
When activated, the HAWK first flashes yellow to vehicular traffic, then goes solid yellow, then solid red to provide a safe window for crossing. After 15 seconds, the solid red begins to flash; at this point, cars may proceed if the sidewalk is clear and they have come to a stop as they would at a stop sign. The standard red hand and white walker images are used to signal to pedestrians when they should cross.
After allowing 30 days for education and adjustment, officers will soon begin citing those who do not obey the signal, both on foot and in vehicles. Officers have been stationed in the area giving warnings to pedestrians and drivers alike in an effort to inform frequent travelers that they may need to change their behavior.
“[A ticket is] not cheap, so we want to educate people,” Rogers said. “Georgia Tech doesn’t make money off citations. It goes to a state general fund, and none of it comes back to the Institute.” Drivers are liable to receive a citation for failure to obey a traffic control device or failure to yield to a pedestrian at a crosswalk; pedestrians may be cited for obedience to traffic-control devices and traffic regulations. All citations cost around or more than $200. Pedestrians are advised to activate the signal at all instances of crossing the street, even during times of lighter traffic.
The North Avenue HAWK is among the first in the metro Atlanta area, with others on roads such as Donald Lee Hollowell Parkway and Peachtree Industrial Boulevard.