Page One

Take a look at lights

Charles Siegel
Saturday June 29, 2002

To the Editor: 

There is talk of installing Santa Rosa lights at Adeline and Fairview, because of the recent death there. But there is a much more effective alternative: Hawk lights. 

Hawk lights, used in Tucson, are similar to ordinary traffic lights. They are mounted on poles and masts, and when a pedestrian or bicyclist activates them, they turn yellow and then red, stopping traffic so people can cross. 

Santa Rosa lights are embedded in the crosswalk, where they are less visible, and they flash to warn cars that a pedestrian is crossing. 

It costs $40,000 to install Hawk lights at an intersection, a bit more than the $35,000 that it costs for Santa Rosa lights. 

But Hawk lights are much more effective than Santa Rosa lights. Virtually all drivers stop for Hawk lights, because they look like red traffic lights. 

Many drivers don't stop for Santa Rosa lights, because people do not know that flashing lights at ground level mean they should stop. 

Santa Rosa lights are particularly ineffective during the day, when they are less visible, so they probably would not have stopped the recent death at Adeline and Fairview. 


Charles Siegel