WESTFIELD (WISH) – A high-intensity activated crosswalk known as the HAWK system installed at 161st Street on the Monon Trail is expected to start operating on Wednesday.
Angel Ray uses this part of the Monon Trail every week. “It’s very busy. There is a lot of traffic and there is so much going on with the cars. The traffic flow is just intense.
Drivers are not supposed to stop, and signs say so, but News 8 on Tuesday saw a few vehicles passing by and signaling pedestrians and cyclists to cross. The municipal government spent approximately $ 100,000 to install a high-intensity push-button crosswalk system at the intersection of the trail.
Ray said, “It’s doable and it’s something we’ve all needed for a while, a while now.”
Chris McConnell, Westfield Parks and Recreation Superintendent, told News 8: “Well, the council told us we had to put it in place, and that’s also to try to make this exchange a bit safer. It is probably our busiest interchange. We are only a few blocks from US 31 on an exit ramp.
A similar pedestrian crossing system is already in operation along Hazel Dell Road.
According to McConnell, pedestrians or cyclists on the Monon Trail press a button. The crosswalk sign will turn to “walk” giving them approximately 20 seconds to cross. For drivers, the activated system will change from a flashing yellow light, to a fixed yellow, to a double fixed red. Flashing red lights indicate the countdown to where drivers should stop first. But if a driver, pedestrian or cyclist is at the intersection, that person can continue.
“Solid red means someone is in the crosswalk and you need to stop. Flashing red is the countdown and you have to stop at flashing red first, but if there is no one at the intersection you can go ahead and continue as the driver, ”McConnell said Tuesday.
Westfield resident Stephanie Davis said: “The flashing red lights can be a bit confusing for people, but I think once you get used to it I know Hazel Dell’s works great. So I think it’s gonna be awesome here.
Westfield resident Bonnie Miller said: “I see on Nextdoor (app) that a lot of people are against anyone stopping. They think drivers should be trained and walkers should be trained and hope for the best, but I like the idea of safety first.
City administrators said the safest thing would be to completely separate vehicle and pedestrian traffic by placing the trail under the road. They have plans for a grade jump, but that timeline is on hold.
McConnell said: “Back when (US) 31 was under construction and the road was closed, we took the first step by putting the tunnel cover and the piles or steel beams that would end up being the walls. under the road. So there is no tunnel here per se, but the top of the tunnel and the stilts are here and currently we are in the process of designing to move forward with the idea of putting a tunnel under 161st Street. .
City administrators said that ultimately city council would decide whether to go ahead with a tunnel project.