Pedestrian Safety

You may have noticed…

The City of White Plains has installed a “HAWK” signal on Main Street between Lexington Avenue and Martin Luther King Boulevard.


What is a HAWK signal?

HAWK stands for High-intensity Activated cross WalK. It is a new kind of signal designed to assist pedestrians when crossing at a mid-block crosswalk.


How is a HAWK signal different than other traffic signals?

Like conventional traffic signals, the HAWK signal provides a pedestrian with an indication notifying them when to cross the street. Unlike conventional traffic signals, the HAWK is only operational when activated by a pedestrian.


The HAWK signal rests in a dark state, allowing normal traffic flow. In its resting state, the HAWK displays a constant “Don’t Walk” indication for pedestrian crossing until activated by a pedestrian.


When a pedestrian presses the button, approaching drivers will see a flashing yellow signal indicating that they should reduce speed and be prepared to stop for pedestrians. The signal then changes to a solid yellow, then a solid red light, indicating for drivers to stop. Once the dual red lights begin to alternately flash, vehicles must stop for pedestrians but are permitted to proceed if there are no pedestrians in the crosswalk. 


When the signal is dark and if the pedestrian crossing has completed, the vehicular movement can continue through the crosswalk. 

HAWK Signal


An audible tone and vibrating arrow button help visually impaired people locate the HAWK signal’s activation button. White Plains has long employed technologies in our traffic control devices that assist those with visual and hearing impairments. 


Why did we install the HAWK signal?

For pedestrian safety! Most pedestrian fatalities occur at mid-block crossings or on multi-lane roadways at non-signalized locations. Main Street between Lexington Avenue and Martin Luther King Boulevard sees many mid-block crossers on their way to and from the White Plains Metro-North station. At this location, Main Street is also a multi-lane road. For pedestrians, walking just a half block out of the way to get to a signal can increase their delay by up to 3 minutes. This kind of delay would never be tolerated by motorists at a traffic signal. The HAWK signal gives pedestrians the ability to cross at the most desirable and efficient location while providing only a short disruption to motorists. 


In White Plains, we follow a ‘Complete Streets’ approach to transportation. This means that we recognize that our roadways have many users – bicyclists, public transportation vehicles and riders, private motor vehicles, and pedestrians of all ages and abilities. The roadway should be safe for each of these users. Devices such as HAWK signals increase safe pedestrian opportunities to cross the street and improve the mobility of pedestrians and the livability of our community.


Questions? Please contact: City of White Plains Parking Department/ Traffic Division, 914.422.1232,

HAWK Signal Main St