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WILLIAMSVILLE, N.Y. -- After one too many close calls, village officials in Williamsville are taking the next step in improving pedestrian safety for walkers on Main Street.

They're moving forward on a new type of pedestrian crosswalk.

The new crosswalk and light beacon, called the HAWK signal, will be constructed across Main Street near Spring Street.

Frequently used out west, the new system will be the first of its kind in New York State.

Mayor Brian Kulpa says there have been too many close calls.

"Yeah there's a history. There's a history right in front of this building. The bigger history is the history of pedestrians who have crossed and gotten lucky," Kulpa said.

The $250,000 HAWK beacon is part of Williamsville's $3 million "Picture Main Street" project.

The rest of the project tackles improving 11 intersections, extending curbs and more.

The majority of the project is paid for by a state transportation enhancement grant; Williamsville will pay the remaining $500,000.

"Our job as Village government here is to make our Main Street as hospitable as possible and as safe as possible," Kulpa said.

Village trustees say they realize a stop light operated crosswalk could slow down traffic on an already slow-going road but say their priority is their residents, and that any drivers looking to go fast should be taking a different route.

Kulpa hopes the HAWK beacon sets a precedent

"If these things work, we should be implementing them at different places. That's the bottom line. There's a lot of areas on Main Street or Sheridan Drive of Military road where a mid-block crossing would be safer," Kulpa said.

The HAWK beacon also means pedestrians only have to concern themselves with east and west traffic, as opposed to cars coming from four different directions at a four-way intersection.

Construction on the crosswalk will start next spring.

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