Peoria's High-Intensity Activated CrossWalK (HAWK) Beacon
Why the HAWK?
The City of Peoria places a high priority on pedestrian safety, especially at elementary schools. The school crosswalk on 91st Avenue at Tumblewood Drive for Desert Harbor Elementary School is the only elementary school crossing in Peoria on an arterial street.
Periodic observations performed by the city showed motorists regularly violating the 15 mph school crossing by speeding, failing to yield to pedestrians in the crosswalk, and passing other vehicles in the "NO PASSING" zone. Additionally, parents and neighbors expressed concerns about the limited use of the 15 mph school cossing which, by law, can only be used during school arrival and dismissal times on 91st Avenue. Because of this limitation, the 15 mph shool cossing did not accommodate pedestrians crossing 91st Avenue during after school activities, on weekends, or during the summer.
The Peoria Engineering Department determined that this school crosswalk location was a good candidate to test the new HAWK beacon, replacing the traditional 15 mph shool cossing with roll-out signs. While the portable 15 mph signs will no longer be used at this location, the reduced speed limit of 25 mph along the school frontage will still be in effect while school is in session.
The HAWK Beacon was developed in the City of Tucson to provide engineers with another tool to assist pedestrian crossings on busy streets where a full traffic signal would not be appropriate or needed.
In January 2007, the National Committee on Uniform Traffic Control Devices recommended that the High-intensity Activated CrossWalK (HAWK) beacon be added to the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices as an official traffic control device. That recommendation was forwarded to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and is currently under consideration.
Until approved, FHWA considers the HAWK an experimental device. The City of Peoria received permission from FHWA in October 2008 to install this device on 91st Avenue at Tumblewood Drive. Data on this installation will be collected by the ciy and a report will be provided to FHWA in accordance with their requirements. A number of other cities in the Valley recently have installed HAWK beacons as well, such as Tempe, Scottsdale, and Phoenix.
Transportation Planning Engineer