STAR-BULLETIN / 2005
John Tisue, a 10th-grader at Kapolei High School, hurries across the crosswalk at the intersection of Panana Street and Makakilo Drive.
Jaywalking, not just speeding, takes lives
Once again Makakilo Drive is receiving attention with respect to speeding motor vehicles. The emphasis began with the tragic loss of the life of a teenager who was struck while crossing the street to catch a school bus earlier this year.
While I agree that too many vehicle operators far exceed the speed limit in that area (more particularly on Makakilo Drive and Palahia Street, at speeds frequently equal to or in excess of double the posted limit), I believe that now is an appropriate time to put things into the proper perspective. We need to look at the entire picture and not just one facet.
In addition to grossly speeding vehicles, children and adults both are constant violators of the pedestrian laws as pertain to jaywalking. Every day I see school-age children running across both Makakilo Drive and Palahia Street, often among passing motor vehicles. At other times during the day I witness adults "escorting" their small children across these roadways in the same illegal manner. There is little or no enforcement of the jaywalking laws, yet they are blatantly violated multiple times daily by both children and adults.
The police have increased the monitoring of vehicle speeds during early morning hours on school days, but there appears to be little or no effort to monitor and enforce illegal vehicle operation during other times.
The bottom line is that motor vehicle operators are not the only ones to blame for a situation that I fear might well take another life. Parents and children, and pedestrians in general, also must share in the blame and in the resolution. Even the City and County of Honolulu is contributing to the problem.
How are children going to learn proper pedestrian performance if they do not receive the proper instruction? I believe that instruction begins at home, and parents should not only be instructors, but should be role models as well!
Mayor Hannemann directed that proper signage be placed along Makakilo streets to enhance the protection of pedestrians, and that was accomplished. But some of the signs appear to contribute to misinterpretation. There are some 25 mph speed limit signs that have a small "school" sign above them. The true meaning of this combination, as explained by a Honolulu Police Department representative at a Kapolei Neighborhood Board meeting, is that the speed limit is in force 24/7, and the addition of the "school" sign only designates an area where the fine for speeding in that area increases to a minimum of $277 during school hours and when school children are present. (Some people believe that the meaning is "during school hours only."
We don't need to "study the problem." The problem is evident. We need to resolve all facets of the problem concurrently, and that will require close involvement by parents, schools, children, motorists and local residents alike. When it is resolved, and only then, the loss of life, although tragic, will not have been totally in vain.
Bernard G. Judson lives in Kapolei.