The City of White Plains has installed a new traffic signal on Main Street between Lexington Avenue and Martin Luther King Boulevard to make it easier and safer for pedestrians to cross.
The HAWK (High Intensity Activated Cross Walk) signal gives pedestrians the ability to cross at the most desirable and efficient location while providing only a short disruption to motorists.
Like conventional traffic signals, the HAWK signal provides a pedestrian with an indication notifying them when to cross the street. Unlike conventional traffic signals, the HAWK is only operational when activated by a pedestrian.
The HAWK signal rests in a dark state, allowing normal traffic flow. In its resting state, the HAWK displays a constant “Don’t Walk” indication for pedestrian crossing until activated by a pedestrian.
When a pedestrian presses the button, approaching drivers will see a flashing yellow signal indicating that they should reduce speed and be prepared to stop for pedestrians. The signal then changes to a solid yellow, then a solid red light, indicating for drivers to stop. Once the dual red lights begin to alternately flash, vehicles must stop for pedestrians but are permitted to proceed if there are no pedestrians in the crosswalk.
When the signal is dark and if the pedestrian crossing has completed, the vehicular movement can continue through the crosswalk.
An audible tone and vibrating arrow button help visually impaired people locate the HAWK signal’s activation button.
City officials noted most pedestrian fatalities occur at mid-block crossings or on multi-lane roadways at non-signalized locations. Main Street between Lexington Avenue and Martin Luther King Boulevard sees many mid-block crossers on their way to and from the White Plains Metro-North station. At this location, Main Street is also a multi-lane road.
For pedestrians, walking just a half block out of the way to get to a signal can increase their delay by up to three minutes, officials said.