Trying Out New HAWK on Central Ave. Between Texas/Utah

Had the chance on a gloriously cool, mostly cloudy yesterday to cross at the newly operating HAWK signal placed between Texas and Utah on Central Avenue.

Even fairly early on a Sunday morning, you can see that there’s much walking/rolling/transit activity going on here. What’s missing most from a busier part of the week are the drivers, but we get an idea here about how they respond to the combination of flashing/solid yellow/red lights. Generally good compliance, with tendency to stay stopped even when lights goes to flashing red (when you can go ahead and go if nobody is in the crosswalk).

That tendency will be tested at this HAWK in its current timing configuration. In my crossing shown here, I noted plentiful time given, most likely set at a more walker-friendly 3.0 feet per second instead of the typical 3.5 FPS. Given the remarkable number of non-motorized users here, that more generous cross time might encourage more usage.

And that’s a good thing.

As big as concerns are about driver compliance (and yeah, you think about that as you cross, even on a lazy Sunday morning), there’s also the concern that walkers/rollers will not amend their crossing behaviors to include use of the HAWK. I’ve heard word that, unlike prior HAWKs, study/counts are planned to get a much better idea of compliance/usage.

Which is good for many reasons, including the fact that other new HAWKs are going in at San Pablo (new library branch) and Conchas along East Central, a stretch of remarkably high fatal/serious injury crashes involving walkers/rollers.

This HAWK offers crossing at point over 1,000 feet from nearest signalized crossing at Pennsylvania; even further to Wyoming

BB readers are highly encouraged to check out this HAWK, for it and environs deeply illustrate the issues and opportunities faced if we’re going to be serious about Vision Zero, Complete Streets, and Transportation Justice. On that score, former BernCo Commissioner Maggie Hart Stebbins and others who pushed for this HAWK are to be commended and thanked. Infrastructure forcing drivers to ever stop results in pissed-off drivers who can afford cars, and wherewithal to withstand their privileged whining is always appreciated.

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