As an almost Traffic Engineer and full blown road geek, I’m a fan of videos by Road Guy Rob. This week Rob talks about HAWK signals. These are yellow/red signals at pedestrian crosswalks that are activated almost immediately when a pedestrian pushes the button. It flashes yellow as a warning to motorists, then solid yellow, then solid red. After a few seconds it switches to flashing red, so if the pedestrian is no longer on your side of the road, a motorist can continue through the flashing red, which is treated like a stop sign.
I’ve been a fan of HAWK installations since I first read about them a number of years ago. They’re pretty neat and they really help keep pedestrians safe. What I didn’t know is they were invented right here in Tucson.
Road Guy Rob explains it quite well.
While I applaud the feeling of safety they afford pedestrians, as a resident of Phoenix and a driver, I absolutely HATE them. NO ONE seems to know how they work; drivers will remain stopped until the signal goes out completely, or they’ll just barrel through the flashing red without stopping. Pedestrians are also clueless in this city; they’ll jaywalk 50 feet from one of these crossings, and just stepping out into traffic seems to be a very popular pastime here to the north.