GDOT working to enhance pedestrian safety on Bay St.

GDOT working to enhance pedestrian safety on Bay St.
(Source: AP Images)

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Georgia Department of Transportation has announced the activation of HAWK signals on Bay Street at three locations.

They will be activated on Jan. 15 and will be located between Tuten Avenue and Kenilworth Street, east of Fell Street, and between Kirkland Street and Ferrill Street. The safety enhancement is in conjunction with the west Bay Street widening project.

HAWK stands for High-intensity Activated Cross Walk. It is a device that helps pedestrians safely cross roadways while minimizing traffic delays. They are a type of traffic signal that is placed in high pedestrian areas and is designed to stop traffic when activated to allow pedestrians to cross safely.

“The old road had become so unsafe,” said Bernetta Lanier, District 1 Alderwoman.

GDOT says they should elevate the level of safety for pedestrians crossing a multi-lane roadway while also minimizing traffic delays.

“Georgia DOT’s top priority is driver and pedestrian safety,” said District Engineer Robert McCall. “Although the HAWK Signal is very similar to the pedestrian’s view of a normal traffic signal, the motorists view will be quite different so, we urge drivers to use extreme caution until they become more familiar with this type of signal.”

GDOT also says the effectiveness of HAWK signals improving pedestrian safety is contingent on drivers.

“Cases of people who were walking on the sidewalk and were struck by trucks and their side view mirrors. We’ve had a lot of fatalities on this road and pedestrian fatalities so we really advocated for the safety more than anything else,” said Lanier.

One former resident says he’s known people who were hit on this road.

“Yes, it was badly needed for a long time and finally we have it," said Freddie Belton. "Hooray!”

Bernetta Lanier may be a freshman to Savannah City Council - but she’s also a fourth generation Hudson Hill resident and will continue to advocate improvements like landscaping and more food options.

“We want people to enjoy the complete ride from the time they enter into the city limits until they enter into downtown,” said Lanier.

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