If I still lived in Boston and worked in Cambridge, this would probably get me killed:
The “High-Intensity Activated crossWalK,” or HAWK, signal installed by city officials outside Biogen Inc. is so complex it requires its own set of directions. Biogen workers handed fliers out Friday to prepare those who approach it.
“We are just educating people because it is such a new system,” said Mike Baut, Biogen’s safety manager. “It’s a different lighting scheme, and people aren’t used to it.”
The system has been installed near the company on Binney Street, a two-way road of four lanes that cut through Cambridge’s innovation sector.
Drivers will see three clusters of three lights as they approach the intersection of Binney and Sixth streets.
At first, they will be all black. At that point, it’s safe for drivers to proceed.
When a pedestrian activates the system, a single light will blink yellow on all three clusters before turning solid yellow, signaling drivers to prepare to stop.
Quickly, the two solid yellow lights will turn into two solid red lights displayed in each cluster. Drivers must stop.
Then those lights are replaced by two alternating flashing red lights in each of the clusters. This means it’s safe to drive again, as long as there are no pedestrians in sight.
While drivers are looking at all the lights, walk signs tell pedestrians when it’s safe to cross.
From there, the process repeats.
Here’s what it looks like:
I don’t understand how this is an improvement over the traditional red-yellow-green light. I can only think it’s so confusing to drivers that they end up slowing down–something that could be done with a red light.