Windward road seen as hazard
A pedestrian's death highlights speeding woes, residents say
Lots of speeders and plenty of pedestrians.
That's the mix, Kaneohe residents say, on a stretch of Kamehameha Highway near Windward Mall where an 89-year-old pedestrian was killed yesterday morning.
The accident is the second in the area this month to involve a pedestrian. On Dec. 8 a teenage boy was critically injured while trying to cross the highway between Haiku Road and Mehana Street outside of a crosswalk.
"People are speeding through that section," said Clyde Morita, a member of the Kaneohe Neighborhood Board. "It is dangerous. We just have to caution people."
Residents say the hazardous stretch of highway extends from Kahuhipa to Haiku roads.
Pedestrians often cross in the area, in and out of crosswalks, to get between Windward Mall and several nearby supermarkets or two city bus stops.
"I drive slow through there, just as a precaution, said Patty Yamashiro-Hironaka, Kaneohe Neighborhood Board secretary. "It's a four-lane highway."
In yesterday's accident a white Ford pickup truck hit an 89-year-old man who was attempting to cross in the marked crosswalk fronting the Safeway store at 46-065 Kamehameha Highway at about 5:45 a.m.
The truck's 26-year-old driver, of Kaneohe, was believed to be speeding, police said. He was uninjured.
The pedestrian, also of Kaneohe, was taken to the Castle Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead at 6:24 a.m.
Police said the traffic fatality was the 75th on Oahu this year, compared with 68 at the same time in 2004. A negligent-homicide case has been opened.
Police also suspected speeding in the earlier pedestrian accident, which happened at about 7:12 p.m. Dec. 8.
"That area has been a problem for pedestrians for a long time," Morita said, adding he believes the stretch warrants a pedestrian overpass.
"People do cross Kamehameha Highway quite frequently."
But Yamashiro-Hironaka said better street lighting in the area could be a quick way to make the roadway safer for pedestrians crossing in the early morning or night.
She also said motorists need to "look out" for pedestrians and learn about the state's new pedestrian law.
The law, which went into effect this year, requires a driver to stop and yield to pedestrians who are in the motorist's half of the roadway or closely approaching.