Complaints get audible traffic signal replaced
I would like to call your attention to the low volume of the "audible traffic signal" on Kapahulu Avenue in front of the Waikiki-Kapahulu Public Library (entrance to Ala Wai Golf Course and Hawaii State Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped). Numerous attempts have been made in the past to have the city's Traffic Signal Division adjust the volume. Yes, they have come, but the volume remains low. At times, with the heavy traffic, it is difficult to hear the signal, which indicates to a blind person when it is safe to cross. Would you be as so kind to get them to come back out and make an adjustment so that the "audible traffic signal" can be heard above all the noise?
Answer: We hope the problem has been resolved and that you are now able to cross Kapahulu Avenue safely and with more confidence.
We first asked about problems with the inaudible signal in January.
After a site inspection and working with the Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, the city Department of Transportation Services replaced the "beep beep beep" signal with a "tacker" device about two weeks ago.
The old signal was at the loudest volume that the department could set, said Ty Fukumitsu, a traffic engineer with Transportation Services.
Noise restrictions set by the state Department of Health specify a maximum volume allowed, especially at night, he said.
"We do agree with the reader that it was very hard to hear the signal," Fukumitsu said, especially when there was construction going on nearby.
The decision was made to replace the beeping signal, which turned out to be the only one of its kind on Oahu, with the more standard "tacker type" used in other locations.
The Kapahulu Avenue site was the first intersection on Oahu where an audible traffic signal was installed "many years ago," Fukumitsu said.
That signal broke, and was replaced with a device that was the closest match to the original, he said. "Unfortunately, the volume was not as loud as the previous one."
Asked if the tacker signal is acceptable to those who depend on it, Fukumitsu told us last week that "it's only been on for approximately a week, and we haven't heard any complaints about it being too soft."
Audible traffic signals can be found in various parts of the island, especially in the downtown and Chinatown areas, such as at Beretania and Punchbowl streets, he said.
When the city receives a request that an audible signal be installed, location is a major factor considered. If the request involves a residential neighborhood, the city will take a hard look, because the signal is on "24/7." Even if it is set to meet noise regulations, it may become irritating to people living nearby after awhile, Fukumitsu said.
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