Construction of a “high-intensity activated crosswalk”—or HAWK—system at the intersection of Fourth Street and Main Street in Ketchum is near completion. The new crosswalk system, as well as a new “pedestrian scramble” crosswalk system at the intersection of Sun Valley Road and Main Street, will be activated on July 8.
HAWK signals are pedestrian-activated traffic control devices designed to create spacing between pedestrians and drivers. The system works similarly to pedestrian crossings at traditional stop lights: Pressing crossing buttons activates flashing lights, signalizing vehicles to stop, allowing pedestrians to cross safely.
For a driver, the HAWK signal appears differently than traditional stop lights. At rest, the HAWK system remains dark and drivers continue in route. Once triggered, it will then go through a series of yellow and red sequences that signal motorists to slow down and stop. When the pedestrian phase is complete, the HAWK will go dark again, allowing motorists to continue through the intersection.
The HAWK signal will synchronize with the signal at Sun Valley Road and Main Street, where the Idaho Transportation Department is converting the stop light to a “pedestrian scramble” stop light. A scramble at a traffic signal stops all vehicular traffic to create a pedestrian-only phase for pedestrians to cross the intersection in any direction, including diagonally, at the same time.
“Pedestrian scramble crossings enhance the safety and mobility of pedestrians, although wait times can be longer,” the city stated in a news release. “This redesign eliminates the right-turn-on-red that is allowed at most intersections, but enhances the safety of pedestrians, in that no vehicles move through the intersection while pedestrians cross.”
During a first phase, both systems will be synchronized. A second phase will include synchronization of the traffic lights at First and Main streets and Fifth and Main streets to allow for more optimal traffic flow through the four intersections, the city stated.
The HAWK project was funded by the Ketchum Urban Renewal Agency, in partnership with the Idaho Transportation Department.