HAWK Signal Safety: What pedestrians and motorists need to know

As part of the Picture Main Street reconstruction project, a HAWK signal has been installed in front of the Williamsville Library, allowing pedestrians to safely cross Main Street at a mid-block location.

Below is a Q&A that explains the signal and the responsibilities of motorists:

What is a HAWK signal?

The pedestrian hybrid beacon, more commonly referred to as a “HAWK,” is derived from the phrase “High-intensity Activated crossWalK” signal. The device is used to warn and control vehicle and pedestrian traffic at unsignalized locations.

Beacons will alert and direct eastbound and westbound traffic of the pedestrian crossing.

How will the HAWK signal function?

When activated by a pedestrian, who pushes a button on one of the device’s poles, the HAWK signals for vehicles to stop. Pedestrians may then cross the street when traffic is stopped. The signal permits vehicles to proceed once the pedestrians have cleared the roadway.

The HAWK consists of two red lenses above a single yellow lens. The beacon remains dark until a pedestrian pushes a button to activate the device.

The yellow light begins flashing when the HAWK is activated. Pedestrians will see a “WALK” indication.

After the pedestrian phase ends, the “WALK” indication changes to a flashing orange hand to notify pedestrians that their clearance time is ending.


How will the HAWK signal function for motorists?

After its activation, the HAWK displays brief flashing and steady yellow intervals to indicate that motorists should slow down and be prepared to stop, respectively. Then, the HAWK’s two red lights remain solid, directing drivers in both directions to stop before the crosswalk.

The HAWK signal then displays alternating flashing red indications to motorists while pedestrians finish their crossings before going dark again at the conclusion of the cycle.

Below is a diagram to assist in understanding the HAWK signal: