New signalized crosswalk to be activated this week on College Avenue

Traffic moves along North College Avenue between Rebecca Street and Trenton Boulevard on Wednesday, Dec. 13.

Photo: Todd Gill, Fayetteville Flyer

Pedestrians and cyclists will soon have a safer option for crossing North College Avenue.

A new signalized crosswalk is scheduled to be activated between Rebecca Street and Trenton Boulevard beginning Thursday, Dec. 14.

The crosswalk is something nearby residents requested in the design stages of the College Avenue Improvement Project back in 2015. It’s part of a full redesign of the half-mile stretch of College Avenue between Maple and North streets, that includes 10-foot sidewalks, lighting and street trees.

City Engineer Chris Brown said the new crosswalk signal is programmed to use the city’s coordinated traffic signal system along College Avenue, which links traffic signals together in sections, so that vehicles in a group will travel forward, making as few stops as possible.

The intersection uses a pedestrian hybrid beacon system designed to allow protected pedestrian and bicycle crossings with minimal disruption to vehicular traffic. Similar systems were installed at the trail crossings on South School Avenue and Razorback Road.

Unlike an ordinary traffic signal, a pedestrian hybrid beacon system only lights when activated by a someone who wishes to cross the road.

Once a pedestrian or cyclist pushes a button, the beacon sequentially flashes yellow, then displays steady yellow, and finally steady red to notify drivers to stop. Pedestrians are then shown a crossing symbol notifying them it’s time to cross. After several seconds, the traffic beacon flashes red. During this time, drivers can proceed after coming to a full stop and checking that pedestrians and cyclists have already cleared the crosswalk. Drivers must still come to a full stop before proceeding during the flashing red phase.

Pedestrian Hybrid Beacon System

For those unfamiliar with a pedestrian hybrid beacon system, city officials suggest reading the following tips:

Traffic Signal Lights – What drivers see and what they should do

  • All signal lights are dark – drivers should proceed as normal.
  • Lower signal light is flashing/solid yellow – drivers should prepare to stop.
  • Upper two signal lights are both solid red – drivers must stop.
  • Upper two signal lights are flashing red – drivers must stop; then proceed if the pedestrian or cyclist has fully cleared the crosswalk.
  • After the cycle ends, the signal lights will be dark.

Crosswalk Light – What pedestrians/cyclists see and what they should do

  • Crosswalk light is illuminated with solid red hand image indicating: Stop. Do not cross.
  • Press signal button. The button box will chirp once when pressed and turn on a small light above the button – letting the person know that the crosswalk system has been activated. NOTE: The wait time between pressing the button and HAWK activation could be more than one minute at this particular crosswalk on N. College Avenue due to timed traffic lights for vehicles.
  • Crosswalk light will change to walking person image, followed by a flashing hand image with a seconds countdown.
  • Pedestrians/Cyclists should first check for vehicles and then proceed on the crosswalk.
  • When the countdown finishes, the crosswalk light will return to the solid hand image.