MDOT Improves Pedestrian Safety

Jan. 28, 2015

The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) is improving traffic and pedestrian safety with the installation of four new HAWK (High-intensity Activated crossWalK)signals in Macomb County. The signals provide a protected pedestrian crossing as a way to increase safety along northbound and southbound M-3 (Gratiot Avenue), with signals on both sides of the median at Quinn Road and Laurel Street in Clinton Township.

A HAWK signal acts like a regular signal but remains completely dark until activated by a pedestrian. It has a unique configuration of two red lenses over a single yellow lens and is activated by pushing a button.

When activated, drivers will see a flashing yellow light indicating the need to reduce speed, followed by a solid yellow light, and then a solid red light requiring drivers to stop while pedestrians are crossing. Pedestrians must wait during the yellow lights and cross only when the light is solid red for traffic and a countdown signal activates, showing the amount of time to safely cross. After the countdown, the lights will flash red, indicating drivers can proceed, if clear, through the intersection. The lights remain dark until another pedestrian activates the signal.

This area of M-3 in Clinton Township has a large number of pedestrians with neighborhoods, schools, businesses, and shopping along with multiple bus stops. This federally recommended HAWK signal is used for major roadways with wide crossing conditions like M-3 (Gratiot Avenue). It is considered safer for pedestrians and drivers due to the need for stopping only when activated and the additional flashing lights and timing for crossing.