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New HAWK crosswalk installed at UT Tyler

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TYLER (KYTX) - Tyler is the first city in East Texas to implement a new kind of crosswalk technology. It's called the HAWK and it stand for High-Intensity Activated Crosswalk.

The crosswalk is at the intersection of UT Tyler's main campus entrance and Old Omen Road.

The city's traffic engineer says this crosswalk is going to make it much safer for students crossing the road. Students say this is something they need.

Flashing yellow lights are all that's protecting students crossing Old Omen road at the Main Entrance of UT Tyler.

Freshman student Jonathan Buehler compares the walk to the classic video game, Frogger.

"There's a busy, busy street." he says. "And, you have to play as a frog and you have to dodge the cars and get across the street. So, that's what it is right now."

Those days of waiting until traffic clears and hoping for the best are over. The City of Tyler has installed a new solar-powered HAWK, or High-Intensity Activated Crosswalk.

"It is very eco-friendly. So, it's a win-win combination." says city traffic engineer Peter Eng says it's going to make crossing this street much safer.

"Our job is to protect the public, especially a lot of students." 

Students wishing to cross the street will press a button and activate the HAWK. This turns on a flashing yellow light that turns to a steady yellow light, signaling drivers to prepare to stop.

When the light turns red, drivers need to stop. Walkers are then given the clear to cross.

The light will then start blinking red. Drivers should treat this as a stop sign.

"It'll be a dramatic change for the red light. People just kind of glide through." says Buehler. "So, if they see the red, that might startle them."

But, student government vice president Ryann Warner says the learning curve is worth it for people's safety.

"That'll help a lot with those students who are trying to walk and not have to dodge those cars and everything like that, that are coming by."

UT Tyler Police Chief Mike Medders released the following statement:

"The new crosswalk system (HAWK) should provide a higher degree of safety for pedestrians crossing Old Omen Road. Many of our students use the crosswalk daily, and at times, Old Omen can be a difficult roadway to cross."

Longview Community Relations Coordinator Shawn Hara says Longview is aware of the HAWK, but there are no plans to bring them to the city right now.

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