Editor’s note: Starting around Oct. 1, 2019, pedestrians may have an easier time crossing Speedwell Avenue at Flagler Street in Morristown. Here is video explaining how a flashing beacon is intended to work, followed by a description from Morristown police:
From the Morristown Bureau of Police:
PEDESTRIAN SAFETY SIGNAL BEING ACTIVATED ON SPEEDWELL AVENUE
Mayor Timothy Dougherty, Public Safety Director Michael Corcoran, and Acting Chief of Police Darnell Richardson are pleased to announce the forthcoming activation of the newly installed Pedestrian Hybrid Beacon (PHB) Safety Signal on Speedwell Avenue at Flagler Street.
This signal, known also as a Pedestrian Hawk (High-Intensity Activated crossWalK) beacon, is a highly visible light system designed to ensure the safe passage of pedestrians within a marked crosswalk on a heavily trafficked roadway.
The lighting system is unique as it remains dark until activated by pedestrians who are ready to cross the roadway.
Once activated by the pedestrian, the lighting system begins to flash a sequence of amber lights before turning red, indicating that motorists must come to a full stop to allow pedestrians to cross.
The Town of Morristown is pleased that this signal is fully installed and ready to become operational, but recognizes that such a unique safety tool requires public education to maximize its effectiveness.
To that end, informational fliers are being distributed to local residents, businesses, and high school students who are anticipated to use this signal.
Message boards will be strategically placed along the approach to this signal to advise motorists of the upcoming changes and police officers will be monitoring the system to ensure there are no issues once operational.
Studies conducted by the Federal Highway Administration have shown significant reductions in both pedestrian and vehicle crashes when these systems are used.
Studies have also shown motorists compliance with the requirement to yield to pedestrians has exceeded 90 percent at crosswalks where Pedestrian HAWKs are successfully implemented.
The Town of Morristown remains committed to ensuring the safety of our pedestrians and motorists and is therefore pleased to implement this new system.
The Speedwell Avenue Pedestrian HAWK is scheduled to become operational on or about October 1st, 2019.