Pedestrian light debuts at School Street school
The city is throwing the switch today for a new pedestrian signal on North School Street fronting St. Theresa School, where an elderly man was critically injured earlier this year while in a crosswalk.
The signal will constantly flash until Tuesday to alert motorists of the presence of the new lights.
Normal operation of the signal will begin 9 a.m. Tuesday. Pedestrians will have to push a button to trigger the walk signal.
"This is part of our effort to improve pedestrian safety islandwide," said Mayor Mufi Hannemann in a news release. "We can't do it alone, of course, and we urge motorists and pedestrians to exercise caution on the road at all times."
It has been nearly four years since the Liliha Neighborhood Board began pushing for a signal there, said board Chairwoman Sesnita Moepono.
"I'm glad that it finally came to pass. This shows that when the neighbors and people in the area ask for help, the city will help them," Moepono said.
It began with state Sen. Suzanne Chun Oakland approaching the board and asking for help to install a signal, she said.
But the pedestrian signal was not installed soon enough to prevent a vehicle from critically injuring a 92-year-old man using the crosswalk in March.
"If that signal was there, that man would have used it and he would not have been hit," said Sister John Joseph Gilligan, principal of St. Theresa School.
Gilligan said there have been several accidents at the crosswalk, which is busy with schoolchildren, senior citizens getting off the bus, and churchgoers.
Three years ago the school began petitioning the city for a traffic signal at the crosswalk when a sixth-grader at the school was hit by a car. "She wasn't severely injured but that doesn't make any difference. A child was hit trying to cross the street," Gilligan said.
Gilligan said she would have a sense of satisfaction after she sees the signal working on Tuesday. "We have now done everything in our power to protect us," she said.