Street Lights, Traffic Signals & Signage
'HAWK' Pedestrian Signal
A new type of traffic signal called a HAWK pedestrian beacon was installed on 67th Street at Knox. While slightly different in appearance this signal functions very similarly to a conventional pedestrian signal in that it stops traffic to allow pedestrians to cross safely.
What is a HAWK signal?
‘HAWK’ is an acronym for High Intensity Activated CrossWalK. These signals have been used safely and successfully for more than five years.
The HAWK is technically a “beacon” in that it remains dark for traffic unless a pedestrian activates the push-button. When the pedestrian presses the button, approaching drivers will see a FLASHING YELLOW for a few seconds indicating that they should reduce speed and be prepared to stop for a pedestrian in the crosswalk.
The FLASHING YELLOW is followed by a SOLID YELLOW and then by a solid RED, requiring them to STOP at the stop line. At this time, the pedestrian receives a WALK indication on the associated countdown timer. Visually impaired pedestrians will hear the signal indicate that it is safe to cross. At the end of the WALK indication, the pedestrian is displayed a FLASHING DON’T WALK indication and motorist sees an ALTERNATING FLASHING RED. During this period motorists are required to STOP or remain stopped until pedestrians have finished crossing the street, and then may proceed.
How does a 'HAWK' signal operate?
What are the advantages of a HAWK?
Studies have shown a better compliance rate by motorists with a HAWK beacon than other devices at pedestrian crossings. The signals are designed for use in locations that do not meet traffic engineering ‘warrants’ for a conventional signal. The new signal is intended to aid pedestrians who desire assistance crossing a street with heavy traffic, and it also provides visually impaired pedestrians audible information as to when the WALK signal is on.
About Pedestrian Safety
The City of Merriam places high priority on pedestrian safety, and is concerned about unsignalized crosswalks on high traffic streets. Often these crossings do not meet engineering standards for installation of a conventional traffic signal so the City uses other treatments instead.
The new HAWK signal is important because it includes a RED signal, and early studies have shown up to 97% motorist compliance.
Decorative streetlights are beginning to fill the streets citywide. Installation brings new life to neighborhoods, and gives main thoroughfares a fresh new look. General maintenance is a high priority which includes bulb and head repairs. Power outages are also ranked a high priority, but may require more patience.
Public Works maintains twenty-four (24) traffic signal locations. Shawnee Mission Parkway participates in Operation Green Light, which is a program coordinated through MARC, that helps traffic flow more efficiently. General maintenance mostly includes repairing or replacing bulbs and/or signal heads.
Public Works is in charge of installing and repairing street signs throughout the City. Ninety-five percent (95%) of signage is assembled by the Sign Department, and the other five percent (5%) would be considered specialty signage. All signs shall maintain adequate visibility, both day and night. New federal regulations on retro-reflectivity have been fulfilled as of early 2012.