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High-tech crosswalk installed near Phoenix school

The new crosswalk near Rose Linda Elementary School in Phoenix is shown. (KTAR Photo/Bob McClay)

PHOENIX -- A high-tech crosswalk was switched on Wednesday near a south Phoenix elementary school.

Students at Rose Linda Elementary School have used the crosswalk at 12th Street and Broadway before with the help of two crossing guards. There is no stop light at the intersection. Those guards have been replaced by a new signal system called the High Intensity Activated Crosswalk, or H.A.W.K.

"The H.A.W.K. system is a pedestrian-activated signal," said Phoenix School Safety Administrator Donald Cross.

The crosswalk has overhead lights that change to red to stop traffic.

"You only see the activation of the signal when the pedestrian hits the button," Cross said. "Otherwise, the heads where the lights are are black."

When the signal is not activated, traffic can move through the area without stopping.

There are 21 H.A.W.K. crosswalks in Phoenix, including two others in the South Mountain Village area where Rose Linda School is located.

So far, the crosswalks are doing their job.

"Drivers respond to them," said Cross. "We've found that it's about a 98 percent driver response rate to the signals."

Each crosswalk costs the city between $80,000 and $100,000.

About the Author

Years with the company: I started on January 2, 2006.

Education: I was born in San Antonio, Texas, but we moved to Phoenix when I was one-year-old in 1957. I grew up here and graduated from Alhambra High School and attended Phoenix College.

Family: I live in north Phoenix with my wife Rene' and my son Devin.

Favorite food: Lots of favorite food, but our favorite restaurant is Fajitas.

Favorite spot in Arizona: The Little America Hotel in Flagstaff.

Favorite news memory: We have to go back to October 15, 1979. I was a country music air personality at KROP Radio in Brawley, California, when we had a 6.7 earthquake. Thankfully, there were no deaths and only minor injuries, but the entire community was pretty freaked out and listening to the station on their transistor radios. I would not want to go through an earthquake again, but it sure was a great night to work in radio and see how it can make a difference in people's lives.

First job: Working as a stringer for 'The Arizona Republic' at high school football games. My first real job was flipping burgers at the old Sandy's Hamburgers at 51st Avenue and Indian School Road. My first radio job was as announcer at KALJ radio in Yuma in 1977.

First concert: My Dad took me to see Jimmy Dean at the Arizona State Fairgrounds in the 1960's. It was before the Coliseum was built. The only thing I remember is Jimmy Dean singing his big hit "Big Bad John."

Favorite sports team: Phoenix Roadrunners minor league hockey. My dad took me to a game when I was in grade school, and I was hooked. I wanted to be a radio hockey play-by-play man. I used to take my cassette recorder and sit up in the rafters of the Coliseum and do play-by-play. It was great later in life to also take my son to Roadrunners games. Too bad the team just folded, I'll miss them. (Going to the Coyotes is fun, but they're not "my" team.)

Outside interests: My family and I are active in our church - Shiloh Community Church in Phoenix. Devin is a high school student at Scottsdale Christian Academy. He plays on the baseball, football, and basketball teams and sings in the choir. Obviously, we keep busy trying to go to all his events! We enjoy going to movies, sporting events, and long road trips. We like to vacation at the Beach Cottages in the Pacific Beach area of San Diego. And I love to play catch, basketball, football with my son.


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