Pedestrian-Friendly Traffic Light Set For Downtown Ketchum

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On May 3, the Ketchum Urban Renewal Agency (KURA) in cooperation with the Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) began construction on a High-Intensity Activated Crosswalk (HAWK) system at 4th and Main Street.

The scramble is a redesign of the traffic signal that stops all vehicular traffic movements, thereby creating a pedestrian-only phase (or time) for pedestrians to cross the intersection in any direction, including diagonally, at the same time. This redesign eliminates the right turn on red that is allowed at most intersections, but enhances the safety of pedestrians in that no vehicles move through the intersection while pedestrians cross.

The HAWK signal will synchronize with the signal at Sun Valley Road and Main Street, where the ITD will be converting the stop light to a “pedestrian scramble” stop light. Construction is expected to be complete by the end of June.

HAWK signals are pedestrian-activated traffic control devices that create more spacing between pedestrians and drivers. The system works similar to other pedestrian crossings at signals. Pressing crossing buttons activates flashing lights, signalizing vehicles to stop and allowing pedestrians to cross safely.

For a driver, the HAWK signal appears differently than other stop lights. At rest, HAWKs remain dark and drivers continue en route. Once triggered, it will then go through a series of yellow and red sequences requiring motorists to slow down and stop. When the pedestrian phase is complete, the HAWK will go dark again, allowing motorists to continue through the intersection.

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