Specialized Traffic Light Activated Outside Dover High School - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Specialized Traffic Light Activated Outside Dover High School

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This is an emaple of the HAWK signal, not the actual signal outside Dover High School This is an emaple of the HAWK signal, not the actual signal outside Dover High School
 DOVER, Del. - A specialized traffic light outside the new Dover High School was activated Wednesday morning, despite concerns raised by city council members.

At a council meeting Monday night, President David Bonar and other members told a Delaware Department of Transportation official they would have preferred a full traffic signal to ensure safety of students who need to cross Del. Route 8.

DelDOT says the high-intensity activated crosswalk pedestrian crosswalk signal, or HAWK, is the second one activated in the state. DelDOT says the first signal of this type was installed in 2010 for students at the University of Delaware in Newark. The new HAWK signal was activated at the intersection of Heatherfield Way and Route 8 near Dover High School.

The HAWK system, originally developed by the City of Tucson, Arizona, is only activated when a pedestrian approaches the signal and presses a button, like they would at a traditional signalized crosswalk, according to a traffic engineer with DelDOT.  Once it is activated, the signal will go through a series of stages that will stop traffic long enough for pedestrians to safely cross the roadway.  Traffic will then be allowed to proceed and the signal will reset itself until activated again. When the signal is not active, it will be dark to allow traffic to move freely.

DelDOT says motorists will also notice new informational signs as they approach the intersection, alerting them to the presence of the new signal.

"These signals were developed to be used at locations that do not meet the criteria for a traditional traffic signal," said Mark Luszcz, Chief Traffic Engineer with DelDOT.  "They provide a safe way for pedestrians to cross the roadway, while being less disruptive to traffic.

"We realize that there will be a learning curve with this system since it is new to the citizens of Delaware," Luszcz continued.  "We have been working with the Dover High School students and staff, as well as with the City of Dover to get the word out to their students before the school year begins, as well as to citizens who travel the road."

School begins at the new Dover High School on August 21.

To learn more about how the HAWK system works and for examples of what drivers and pedestrians will see with the new signal click here.
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