GEORGE F. LEE / GLEE@STARBULLETIN.COM
10, 9, 8 ...: The city wants to put walk lights displaying how much time pedestrians have to cross the street at every intersection with city signals by 2012.
Countdowns for crosswalks
Walk lights displaying how much time pedestrians have to get across streets will be at every intersection with city traffic signals by 2012, under plans outlined in a project to reduce accidents.
The project also includes two pilot projects that will could model future improvements to midblock crosswalks: an illuminated crosswalk on North King Street near Kalihi-Palama Post Office and an overhead pedestrian warning signal on South King Street near Times Super Market.
Mayor Mufi Hannemann announced the city's newest pedestrian safety project Thursday at Farrington* High School during an economic summit aimed at improving the Kalihi area.
Hannemann's plan comes after a number of pedestrian deaths on Oahu this year. Earlier this week, a pedestrian was killed in Liliha after a car struck her while she was walking in a crosswalk. She was the 11th pedestrian to die on Oahu this year compared with 20 pedestrian deaths in all of 2006.
The plan will take a multifaceted approach involving police, education and upgrading traffic devices. It costs an estimated $2.1 million to upgrade 525 intersections at $4,000 each.
Countdown signals have been installed when crosswalk signals needed replacement for the past year, said Ty Fukumitsu, a division chief of traffic signals at the city Department of Transportation Services. Over the next five years, the city will replace the remaining signals at a pace of 105 intersections a year.
Work crews will begin replacing the signals this July, said city spokesman Bill Brennan.
"We are hearing from pedestrians that they would like to see more of those things. It takes the guesswork out of trying to cross the street safely," Brennan said.
Kalihi Valley resident Eugene Mika attended the economic summit and said the countdown signals could help the pedestrians but that more education is needed among pedestrians and drivers.
"They still cross anyway when it's hands up or it's red. ... They're running across. I shake my head sometimes," he said. "I think it's education. People need to be more educated. It works both ways, too. There are some drivers who don't even look."
As part of the project, the city will repaint faded crosswalks beginning in Kalihi. With remaining funds, crews will replace pedestrian signs, and officials will produce public service announcements and educational materials.
Supporting police in enforcement and AARP Hawaii educational campaigns are also part of the project.
The Honolulu Police Department's pedestrian safety campaign, which started in February, continues to ticket pedestrians and drivers for violating pedestrian safety laws.
AARP Hawaii will celebrate its seventh annual Day of Service with two events on May 9 and 10. This year's theme is pedestrian safety on Oahu.
"It's meant to raise people's awareness and let family members know we haven't forgotten about them and still continue to focus on this issue," said Bruce Bottorff, of AARP Hawaii.
Crosswalk Corps makes 6,448 stops
As of last Saturday, HPD's pedestrian safety campaign stopped 6,448 people for allegedly violating pedestrian safety laws.
Of that amount, 2,139 were driving citations, and 2,137 were for pedestrians. The rest resulted in other traffic-related infractions, like expired stickers or being uninsured, said Lt. Jerry Wojcik, who heads the campaign.
Despite the campaign, last month saw 32 pedestrian accidents, which is half* the amount in March last year.
AARP events cover pedestrian safety
» On May 9, AARP and the Honolulu Police Department will sponsor a Pedestrian Safety Forum for Kupuna at Mission Memorial Auditorium from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. Participants will receive a free reflective wristband.
» On May 10, AARP will hold a candlelight vigil and "speak-out" at Kawaiaha'o Church from 6 to 8 p.m. People can speak about how the issue of pedestrian safety has affected their community and about those who died.
Tuesday, May 1, 2007
» Mayor Mufi Hannemann presented the city's latest pedestrian safety program Thursday during a Kalihi Economic Summit at Farrington High School. A story on Page A3 Saturday incorrectly said Roosevelt High School. Also, there were 32 pedestrian accidents on Oahu in March compared with 64 in March of 2006. The story incorrectly said the 32 accidents in March of this year were double the amount in March last year.