HAWK Pedestrian Visibility

Residents in Old Town Goleta are excited about a new safety upgrade for pedestrians. According to Santa Barbara’s Noozhawk, the new High Intensity Activated Crosswalk (HAWK) system is going to replace the old flashing beacons and reflective paint at a busy roadway near the Goleta Valley Community Center. The crosswalk location is also being relocated about 100 feet to the east to avoid potentially obstructed views due to buses for pedestrians and motorists. Approximately 24,000 vehicles travel on this busy street every day, so the HAWK systems is expected to greatly improve safety for pedestrians in the area.

The HAWK System

Essentially, the HAWK system is a pedestrian-activated warning beacon that is located on the roadside or mast arms over midblock pedestrian crosswalks. There are two very visible red lenses above a yellow lens. The beacon head remains dark until the pedestrian is ready to cross the street. At that point, the pedestrian pushes a button to activate the signal. First, the beacon flashes yellow at intervals and then displays a steady red indication to drivers and a “WALK” sign to pedestrians. The light then switches to orange to let the pedestrians know their time crosswalk time is coming to an end.

Hawk and Midblock Pedestrian Safety Stats

  • Midblock crossing locations account for more than 70 percent of pedestrian fatalities.
  • More than 80 percent of pedestrians die when hit by vehicles traveling at 40 miles per hour or faster.
  • Less than 10 percent die when hit at 20 miles per hour or less.
  • Installation of the HAWK system has been shown to reduce pedestrian crashes by 69 percent and total roadway crashes by 29 percent.

Moving Forward With Pedestrian Safety

At this time, the project is still in its initial phases. The City has submitted their request to Caltrans to initiate construction on the HAWK system. Concerned residents in the area are hoping the Hawk system gets installed quickly and are also calling for another one in a different location.

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