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City Installs First HAWK Beacon

City of Tacoma to Install First High-Intensity Activated Crosswalk


August 23, 2019



Tanisha Jumper, Media and Communications, tjumper@cityoftacoma.org, (253) 591-5152

Stacy Ellifritt, Media and Communications, stacy.ellifritt@cityoftacoma.org, (253) 591-2005


City of Tacoma to Install First High-Intensity Activated Crosswalk


Installation is starting on the first High-intensity Activated Crosswalk or HAWK beacon in Tacoma, located on East Portland Avenue near First Creek Middle School (1801 E. 56th St.). Project construction will begin the week of August 26, and is expected to be completed on Thursday, September 5. During installation, occasional lane closures will be required and traffic controls will be in place.


The HAWK beacon is a pedestrian traffic control device used to assist people with safely crossing busy streets. This beacon only operates when activated by a pedestrian, allowing traffic to move freely for most of the day. HAWK beacons have been used throughout the country and in Washington State for over a decade. This is the first HAWK beacon to be installed in Tacoma with more anticipated in the next few years.


The HAWK beacon remains unlit when not in use. When activated by a pedestrian or bicyclist, the beacon lights begin to flash yellow signaling the driver to slow down. Then the beacon lights turn solid yellow followed by solid red lights. Drivers must treat solid red lights the same as a traffic signal and come to a complete stop. After time is provided for the pedestrian and bicyclist to cross, the beacon lights begin flashing red. While the lights are flashing red, drivers may proceed after stopping if the pedestrians and bicyclists have completed their crossing.


This project is funded by a Washington State Department of Transportation Safe Routes to School grant. For more information, including a video on how the HAWK beacon operates, visit cityoftacoma.org/HAWKBeacon or contact Project Manager Darius Thompson at darius.thompson@cityoftacoma.org or call (253) 573-2410.