How to Navigate the HAWK Traffic Signal System at North Beach-Surf City Border

Jul 29, 2019

A HAWK (High-intensity Activated CrossWalk) was installed on Long Beach Boulevard at the southern end of North Beach, where that section of Long Beach Township meets Surf City, in 2016. It has since caused some confusion.

The crosswalk system features push-button activation for pedestrians; when crossing pedestrians are not present, the signal simply appears off to vehicles. When the signal is dark to vehicular traffic, there is a solid hand, “don’t walk” indication for pedestrians.

“Once the pedestrian pushes the crosswalk button, the HAWK wakes up by displaying flashing yellow to vehicular traffic,” an instructional video, available online at, explains.

“It then goes to solid yellow, which, similar to a normal traffic signal, means the signal is about to turn red. The pedestrian continues to see the ‘don’t walk’ signal. After the HAWK turns solid red, the pedestrian signal changes to ‘walk.’ Using caution, the pedestrian may now legally begin walking. After the walk phase, a flashing ‘don’t walk’ phase, accompanied by a numerical countdown, will begin. Pedestrians may finish crossing if they had already started, but they may not start from the sidewalk.”

Vehicles will see flashing red lights subsequent to the solid red light; they must stop at the flashing red, but may then proceed if safe to do so.

After the flashing red ends, the video continues, “the HAWK signal reverts back to its default mode of being dark for vehicular traffic, and displaying ‘don’t walk’ to pedestrians. Should another pedestrian push the button soon after the previous walk phase, there will be a predetermined time to allow vehicular traffic to clear before the sequence starts again.”

Local police departments have recommended that residents and visitors to LBI view the YouTube video on the signal system to familiarize themselves with how it functions.

The $75,000 system on the Island was the first one installed in Ocean County. —J.K.-H.

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