“Anything Once” reporter finds shearing sheep is hard work

April 4, 2011 under CANR News

Shearing sheep is not an easy spring task on the farm.  On March 22, Justin Williams, a reporter with the News Journal found out just how back breaking it can be.

Williams writes a column for the News Journal called “Anything Once” where he travels around Delaware shadowing people with interesting jobs.  He joined UD farm employees, Scott Hopkins and Larry Armstrong, at the Webb Farm on March 22 to try his hand at sheep shearing.

The full article can be viewed online by clicking here.

To see the accompanying YouTube video, click here.

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New Crosswalk Installed on Rt. 72 at the Webb Farm

August 3, 2010 under CANR News

As summer begins to draw to a close and classes are just around the corner for students at UD, those taking classes on the Webb Farm will return to the campus to find a new kind of traffic signal — one meant to make it easier and safer for students, faculty members, and visitors to cross Route 72 at Farm/Webb Lane.

The signal is a High-intensity Activated crossWalK (HAWK) and is being installed as a joint partnership between the University of Delaware’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR) and the Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT). The location is the first in the state to be outfitted with this new type of signal.

Route 72 separates two areas of the farm used by the college. Robin Morgan, dean of the college, said students and faculty often have trouble crossing the intersection, which currently does not have traffic signals or a crosswalk.

“This project really belongs to our students,” Morgan said.

The project gathered momentum in 2008 when members of the Ag College Council presented a petition to DelDOT from concerned students and local citizens. They then worked with DelDOT to devise a plan that would make the intersection safer for pedestrians.

“This traffic signal is unique,” said Mark Luszcz, assistant chief traffic engineer with DelDOT. “These signals were developed to be used at locations that do not meet the criteria for a traditional traffic signal. They provide a reasonably safe way for pedestrians to cross the roadway, while being less disruptive to traffic.”

Luszcz, who worked with UD on the project, said the HAWK signal has been experimentally used across the country for 10 years, with impressive results. The device received approval for national use in January.

The HAWK system, originally developed by the city of Tucson, Ariz., is only activated when a pedestrian approaches the signal and presses a button, like they would at a traditional signalized crosswalk. Once it is activated, the signal will go through a series of stages that will stop traffic long enough for pedestrians to safely cross the roadway.

Traffic will then be allowed to proceed and the signal will reset itself until activated again. When the signal is not active, it will be dark to allow traffic to move freely.

“We realize that there will be a learning curve with this system since it is new to the citizens of Delaware,” said Luszcz. “We have been working with the University of Delaware to get the word out to their students before the school year begins, as well as to citizens who travel the road.”

An informational session for students will be held at the start of the fall semester.

DelDOT began installing the system in July and it is tentatively scheduled to be activated on Friday, Aug. 6. Citizens will also notice new informational signs as they approach the intersection, which alert them to the presence of the new signal.

“This new type of signal is another tool that we can use to ensure the safety of our citizens as they cross our roadways at intersections that would traditionally be outfitted with only a flashing yellow beacon or a crosswalk without a traffic signal,” said DelDOT Secretary Carolann Wicks. “This system has been tested and proven to be highly effective in numerous jurisdictions throughout the United States and we are happy to be bringing it to Delaware.”

If the HAWK signal is successful, Luszcz said, DelDOT will consider using the system in other locations throughout the state.

“We feel this is a good place for us to start with these devices,” he said.

You can read the article on UDaily by clicking here.

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DelDOT, UD announce New Route 72 Pedestrian Crossing

June 30, 2010 under CANR News, Events

After years of concern being voiced about pedestrian safety from the main UD Farm to the Webb Farm, the Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT) and the University of Delaware, a solution is now on the horizon.

This summer, DelDOT will install an experimental traffic light, called a High-Intensity Activated Crosswalk (HAWK), at the intersection of Route 72 and Farm/Webb Lane.

Route 72 separates two areas of the farm used by the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. Robin Morgan, dean of the CANR, said students and faculty often have trouble crossing the intersection, which currently does not have traffic signals or a crosswalk.

“This project really belongs to our students,” Morgan said.

The project gathered momentum in 2008 when members of the Ag College Council presented a petition to DelDOT of concerned students and local citizens. They then worked with DelDOT to devise a plan that would make the intersection safer for pedestrians.

Luszcz, who worked with UD on the project, said the HAWK signal has been experimentally used across the country for 10 years, with impressive results. The device received approval for national use in January.

The new traffic light will be the first of its kind in Delaware. The device is activated when a pedestrian presses the button to cross. A flashing yellow light followed by a solid yellow light, signals drivers to slow down. A traditional red light stops traffic while the pedestrian crosses the street. The last step is a flashing red light, equivalent to a stop sign, which allows cars to move through the intersection if no pedestrians are coming. When not activated, the signal is dark and traffic can move freely.

“It gives you the solid red indication, but it’s less disruptive to traffic,” said Mark Luszcz, assistant chief traffic engineer for DelDOT.

He said they hope to break ground on the signal in July and be operational by the beginning of the fall semester. The signal will hang overhead on both sides of the intersection and be accompanied by a striped crosswalk and modified signs.

An event for students, faculty, and staff will be held at the start of the fall semester to demonstrate the new technology.

If the HAWK signal is successful, Luszcz said, DelDOT will consider using them in other locations throughout the state.

“We feel this is a good place for us to start with these devices,” he said.

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