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Mayor Gray Demonstrates District’s New Pedestrian Signals

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Mayor Gray Demonstrates District’s New Pedestrian Signals

DDOT Installing New Pedestrian Signals to Create Safer Streets Throughout The District

(WASHINGTON, DC) – Today Mayor Vincent C. Gray and representatives from the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) met at the site of a newly installed pedestrian HAWK (High-Intensity Activated crossWalK) signal, at Connecticut Avenue and Northampton Street in Northwest Washington, to demonstrate how the new signal works.

“My administration is committed to identifying and implementing the tools and technologies that will help create safer street conditions throughout the District,” Mayor Gray said. “In the Sustainable DC Plan we released earlier this year, we set an aggressive-but-realistic goal of increasing the use of public transit, biking, and walking to comprise 75 percent of all commuter trips in the District in the next 20 years. To meet this goal, we must continue to improve overall street safety for all.”

DDOT is installing the HAWK signals as a new tool to help get people across the street in a safe manner at places where it would otherwise be difficult to install a standard traffic signal. HAWK signals can be installed on streets with regular traffic signals as part of the District’s coordinated signal system.

DDOT installed the District’s first HAWK signal in 2009 at a pilot location on Georgia Avenue and Hemlock Street NW. The signal at this location has remained in operation since it was first installed and has significantly improved pedestrian safety in the area. After positive testing results in the District and across the nation, the HAWK signal (or Pedestrian Hybrid Beacon, as it is officially known) was approved for use by the Federal Highway Administration in 2010.

DDOT recently installed additional pedestrian HAWK signals at 16th and Jonquil Streets NW and at Minnesota Avenue and C Street NE, and is constructing the next one on Connecticut Avenue NW between Ordway Street NW and Macomb Street NW. It will be completed in late May. DDOT also plans to install one at 11th Street and Florida Avenue NW.

The HAWK signal is designed with a signal-beacon to help pedestrians safely cross busy streets. While it appears differently to motorists, to the pedestrian the signal works similarly to other push-button-activated traffic signals in the District by stopping traffic with a red signal for vehicular traffic and allowing pedestrians to cross with a WALK signal. The 16th and Jonquil Streets NW location can automatically detect the presence of pedestrians waiting to cross and will activate the signal.

For motorists, the HAWK signal displays standard signal indications but in a new sequence. When not in use, the HAWK signal is dark, and motorists should proceed normally. When activated, it will display a flashing yellow light, indicating to drivers to proceed with caution. Next it will display a solid yellow light for four seconds, indicating to drivers that they should slow down and prepare to stop. Next it will display a solid red, indicating to drivers to stop. Pedestrians will get a WALK signal at this point. Next, the motorists’ signal will flash red in an alternating pattern to indicate to drivers that they may proceed, after stopping, if the crosswalk is clear and it is safe to do so.

By late June, DDOT will have 15 new standard signals installed at intersections throughout the District that had not previously been signalized to improve safety and operations for all users.

To access the HAWK pedestrian signal guide online, please follow this link.