New pedestrian crosswalk signal to go in along Rainbow Blvd. near KU Cancer Center

A high-intensity activated crosswalk beacon, like the one pictured above on 39th Street near the University of Kansas Medical Center, is being installed just around the corner on Rainbow Boulevard adjacent to the Cancer Center. (File photo.)

A new pedestrian crosswalk signal — a high-intensity activated crosswalk beacon — is being installed at the busy mid-block crossing adjacent to the University of Kansas Cancer Center on Rainbow Boulevard.

Why it matters: The cities of Westwood and Mission Hills entered an agreement with KU, which will pay for the entirety of the project. Dubbed HAWK (for High-Intensity Activated CrossWalK), the signal will replace the existing, alternating flashing lights currently at the mid-block crossing.

HAWK signals reduce accidents involving pedestrians and automobiles by up to 69%, according to a BikeWalkKC.

How it works: Pedestrians push the button to cross the street and wait until the ‘Stop’ hand turns into the symbol of a pedestrian.

At the same time, drivers will see a flashing yellow light to signal that they should slow down as a pedestrian has pressed the crosswalk button. The flashing yellow light will turn to two red lights to signal the driver needs to stop while the pedestrian is crossing.

A flashing red light signals to drivers to be cautious — if there is no pedestrian crossing, a driver can proceed through the red flashing lights.

The timeline: Installation construction began last week, and is anticipated to cause minor lane closures Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Construction is expected to be completed by mid-October.