The idea is simple. Place a container of flags at each end of a crosswalk and instruct pedestrians to carry one with them while crossing. The brightly colored flags improve pedestrian safety by making them more visible to drivers. In addition, the simple act of holding a flag alerts drivers that the pedestrian has a desire and intent to cross the street. Some drivers have commented that simply having brightly colored flags at both ends of a crosswalk makes noticing the crosswalk easier
Salt Lake City installed and maintains the crosswalk flags within the Central Business District downtown. Within the rest of the City, the Adopt-a-Crosswalk program allows individuals or businesses to install and maintain crosswalk flags at a nearby crosswalk by “adopting” or “sponsoring” the crosswalk. Sponsors agree to occasionally monitor the flags to insure they are available at both ends of the crosswalk and to provide replacement flags as needed. In return, the City installs the flag holders, and an initial supply of flags at no cost to the sponsor. Replacement flags are available to sponsors from the City at a nominal cost as needed. For elementary schools that wish to sponsor a designated school crosswalk, the City provides replacement flags at no cost as long as the school agrees to maintain them at the crossing.
For additional information about the Adopt-a-Crosswalk program, consult the Crosswalk Flag brochure or contact the Transportation Division at 801-535-6630.
Pedestrian HAWK Signals
Utah law requires motorists to yield to pedestrians in a marked crosswalk. A new treatment, known as a HAWK Pedestrian Signal, which includes a red signal indicator, is now available and has shown to have up to a 97% driver compliance rate, comparable to a conventional traffic signal.
What is a HAWK signal?
“HAWK” is an acronym for High Intensity Activated crossWalK and was originated in Tucson, Arizona. This hybrid pedestrian signal has since been safely and successfully used throughout the United States. The signal has been approved and adopted into standard traffic engineering manuals.
While different in appearance to the driver, to the pedestrian this signal works the same as any button-activated traffic signal in Salt Lake City. It stops traffic with a red signal allowing pedestrians to cross safely. Although it looks fairly similar to a traditional signalized pedestrian crossing, the HAWK functions a bit differently. When not in use, it will remain dark. The signal goes through a sequence of five movements after a pedestrian pushes the button. The HAWK signal begins flashing yellow to indicate to drivers someone will be using the crosswalk. It then goes to solid yellow like a typical traffic signal, advising drivers to stop if safe to do so. The signal then turns solid red, requiring drivers to stop at the stop line. Finally, the signal goes to flashing red, letting drivers know that after coming to a complete stop, they can proceed with caution if the way is clear – the same movement they would make at any other flashing red signal. The signal then returns to a dark state.
How to use a HAWK signal?
Using a HAWK signal as a pedestrian is easy. Simply push the button and wait for the Walk indication to appear. It may take up to one minute for the signal to change, depending on the time of day. Be sure traffic has stopped before you enter the crosswalk, and cross safely to the other side.
The flashing DON’T WALK signal will appear as you finish your crossing. Countdown numbers will show how much time remains to cross the street.
Download the printable Salt Lake City HAWK brochure.
Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacons (RRFBs)
Marked crossings and pedestrian warning signs help to improve the safety and visibility of pedestrians as they enter a roadway. Sometimes, these elements are not sufficient to increase pedestrian conspicuity and increase driver awareness. In order to enhance uncontrolled, marked crossings and to promote pedestrian visibility and safety, Salt Lake City’s Transportation Division installs pedestrian actuated, rectangular rapid flashing beacons or RRFBs.
RRFBs consist of two, rectangular shaped LED based indicators that flash in an alternating high frequency when activated. RRFBs help to indicate to drivers that a pedestrian is entering the roadway, increasing their visibility which helps them feel less vulnerable to oncoming traffic.
Pedestrian and Bicycle Master Plan
Salt Lake City’s Pedestrian and Bicycle Master Plan provides a guiding framework, recommendations, and policies for the development of pedestrian and bicycle facilities and improvements, along with education, encouragement, and enforcement programs. In keeping with the City’s Complete Streets ordinance, the plan addresses walking and bicycling as integral to the City’s transportation systems, while also recognizing the significant health, fitness and recreational aspects. This plan was passed by the City Council in 2015, updating the previous bicycle and pedestrian plan from 2004. With support from the City’s citizen-based bicycle advisory committee, the City has had a bicycle master plan dating back to the early 1990’s.