JAMM AQUINO / JAQUINO@STARBULLETIN.COM
Kalihi resident Ruth Takahashi voiced her opinion on pedestrian safety, particularly for senior citizens, yesterday afternoon during the AARP's Pedestrian Safety workshop at Palama Settlement. CLICK FOR LARGE
Kalihi residents work on pedestrian safety
Kalihi residents had no problems pointing out some of the glaring pedestrian trouble spots in their neighborhood: a sidewalk so narrow that trash cans block the walkway, and a crosswalk across four lanes without a signal.
People who also work in the neighborhood spoke last night during one of the Hawaii Walkable Community Workshops that are aimed at improving pedestrian safety in Hawaii.
"It's your turn. You get to decide what this neighborhood will become," said Charlie Gandy, who led the Palama Settlement workshop, one of three on Oahu.
The workshops are sponsored by the AARP and the state Department of Health. A second workshop was held Wednesday in Waianae.
The last workshop, which also deals with bicycle issues, will be held today at Washington Middle School in McCully from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Walking around Kalihi, Gandy led a group of about 25 people that included city and state representatives in a discussion on pedestrian dangers and some possible remedies.
For the narrow sidewalks on Palama Street that are blocked by garbage cans on trash day, Gandy suggested getting rid of the parking and extending the sidewalk.
It would also help make it accessible for residents with wheelchairs, Gandy said. For Kanoa Street, where parked vehicles line the street, community members could paint a line for cheap to keep cars from encroaching on pedestrian areas.
Gandy, a Colorado-based consultant in community design, trail planning and bicycle and pedestrian advocacy, challenged participants to think of a more pedestrian-friendly community. He showed them examples of pedestrian-friendly designs in cities such as Seattle.
Bruce Bottorff, AARP Hawaii associate state director of communications, said the workshops create community understanding and help enrich the discussion on city developments near the upcoming transit stations.
And it is timely because of the recent pedestrian deaths -- 10 in the first 10 weeks of 2007. It is a discussion that needs to continue, he said.
Lt. Jerry Wojcik of the Honolulu Police Department attended to get more ideas for his project, the pedestrian safety campaign.
"It's more for design," he said of the workshop, but it offered a way for him to reach out to the community. "Citizens who live here, they know where areas need help and what areas need enforcements," he said.
Jon Motohiro, a program supervisor at Susannah Wesley Community Center in Kalihi, said he has seen many of the ideas Gandy presented already used in Kailua.
"I've seen it makes a difference. They are some good ideas," he said. "I've also noticed the value of all of us gathering out here to rally around the same concern. It gives more attention and reinforces the message of making this area a lot safer for pedestrians."