Not all ramps for wheelchairs get crosswalks
In the Feb. 12, 2003, "Kokua Line," a reader asked about the elimination of parking spaces and the construction of Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant sidewalk ramps on Piikoi Street near Davenport Street. The answer indicated the ramps were for purposes of crossing Davenport and Piikoi. Since the ramps were built, a crosswalk has never been marked. I don't understand why a sidewalk could be torn up and modified, yet some lines couldn't be painted on the street. Are there any plans for a crosswalk? If so, when?
Answer: A marked crosswalk never was intended at that intersection, despite the addition of the wheelchair ramps.
Construction of wheelchair ramps "does not in itself warrant the installation of marked crosswalks," said Melvin Kaku, director of the city Department of Transportation Services.
"However, pedestrians are allowed to legally cross in the unmarked crosswalk at this specific location," he said.
The Statewide Traffic Code defines crosswalks as being either "distinctly indicated for pedestrian crossing by lines or other markings on the surface" or, without markings, "that part of a roadway at an intersection included within the connections of the lateral lines of the sidewalks on opposite sides of the highway measured from the curbs or, in the absence of curbs, from the edges of the traversable roadway."
Another transportation services official earlier explained ("Kokua Line," Nov. 17, 2005) that, in the absence of a painted crosswalk, unmarked crosswalks exist at every intersection, except where crossings are prohibited because of safety concerns. In those cases, signs would be posted.
The official also explained that marked crosswalks are "not installed indiscriminately," because studies have shown that they tend to give pedestrians a false sense of security.
By comparison, studies showed pedestrians tended to use more caution at unmarked crossings at intersections, he said.
It has been more than four years since the curb ramps were installed at Piikoi and Davenport, so Kaku asked his staff to take a look at the intersection.
Based on the review, which took into consideration vehicular and pedestrian volumes, and other factors, "the warrants for installing marked crosswalks were not met," he said.
Shame, shame on the female passenger in a Nissan Quest, with license plate frames saying "T & C Surf, Go Surfing." We were shocked to see you throw rubbish out the window about 4:30 p.m. May 3 on King Street, just before Isenberg Street. You looked like you've done it many times before with no thought. -- A. Tanaka
To the business located on Young Street for feeding the birds. We who live in the neighborhood have to deal with all the poop on our building. Why don't you feed the birds at your own residence? -- No Name
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