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Western New York's second HAWK beacon goes live in Buffalo

Another HAWK is about to land in the area.

The HAWK, short for "high-intensity activated crosswalk beacon," is a traffic device designed to guide pedestrians and bicyclists at a mid-block road crossing.

The area's second HAWK will be activated early Thursday morning. It is located where the North Buffalo Rails to Trails path crosses Kenmore Avenue and becomes the Tonawanda Rails to Trails, officials said. It joins another HAWK on Sheridan Drive in Tonawanda that debuted over the summer.

"Be alert for it" was the advice from Buffalo's public works commissioner, Steven J. Stepniak.

The beacon is dark until activated by a trail user. Motorists then see a cycle of flashing yellow, steady yellow, steady red, flashing red and back to dark.

Motorists should treat the flashing red as a stop sign, Stepniak said.

"You still have to stop while approaching it, but once that pedestrian is gone you can proceed forward," he said.

The Kenmore Avenue HAWK is located in the 500 block, between Fairfield Avenue and Klauder Road, adjacent to the NOCO gas station.

A HAWK was appropriate because it'll keep traffic flowing when not in use, Stepniak said.

"We think it's a good application in that area because it's a narrow street," he said.

Also Thursday morning, city officials will announce the completion of a major reconstruction of Kenmore Avenue, which includes the addition of bike lanes from the Rails to Trails entrance to Main Street.

The project has turned Kenmore into a "complete street" that is friendly to pedestrians, motorists and bicyclists, Stepniak said. Plans call for adding 10 miles of bike lanes annually throughout the city.

"It's been something that's been very strongly supported by the public," he said.

Variable message boards will be in place in the east and west travel directions for a week to alert motorists to the "new pedestrian signal ahead" on Kenmore Avenue, added City Engineer Mike Finn.

Meanwhile, the Sheridan Drive HAWK has been operating smoothly and without complaints since it was activated June 24, said James Stauffiger, assistant chief of the Town of Tonawanda Police Department.

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