CRAIG T. KOJIMA / CKOJIMA@STARBULLETIN.COM
The city activated a new crossing signal at South Beretania and Kaialiu streets yesterday. Pedestrians who made the crossing seemed happy about the new lights. CLICK FOR LARGE
Countdown lights alert walkers
Community concerns lead to new signals in Moiliili and Kalihi
STORY SUMMARY »
The city activated traffic lights and pedestrian countdown signals at two separate intersections -- one in Moiliili and the other in Kalihi -- yesterday due to community concerns.
Before the lights and signals were installed at the Moiliili intersection near Burger King and Star Market, 63-year-old Pauline Sumida said, crossing the intersection was as dangerous as Russian roulette. "This is good," Sumida, 63, said of the lights.
The Moiliili intersection project cost an estimated $298,000, while the Kalihi intersection project cost an estimated $371,000.*
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Walking across busy South Beretania Street to Moiliili Neighborhood Park used to be like playing Russian roulette, 63-year-old Pauline Sumida said.
Not so now that the city switched on new traffic lights and pedestrian countdown signals at South Beretania and Kaialiu streets.
"This is good," said Sumida yesterday as she and about a dozen other women who go to tai chi classes at the nearby Moiliili Community Center crossed the three-lane road.
The city activated new traffic lights and pedestrian countdown signals yesterday at the Moiliili intersection and another intersection at North School and Leilani streets in Kalihi. The intersections previously had no signals.
Community concerns generated the traffic improvements. The Moiliili project cost an estimated $371,000, while the Kalihi one cost an estimated $298,000. The federal government picked up 80 percent of the costs and the city paid 20 percent.
Safety concerns about the Moiliili intersection arose several years ago when a female pedestrian was killed after she was struck by a vehicle, said City Councilwoman Ann Kobayashi.
"We have to have our community, especially in the urban core, more pedestrian-friendly," Kobayashi said yesterday.
Many University of Hawaii students and the elderly regularly use the Kaialiu Street crosswalk.
Barbara Kim Stanton, director of AARP Hawaii, pointed out that of the 12 pedestrian deaths that occurred on Oahu so far this year, 11 were people 50 and older.
The high rate of pedestrian deaths prompted city and state officials to conduct enforcement of traffic laws and appropriate funds for pedestrian safety measures.
Pedestrian signals installed at both intersections have the countdown feature. After seven seconds, a blinking red light appears with numbers that start counting down from 15 seconds.
CRAIG T. KOJIMA / CKOJIMA@STARBULLETIN.COM
The city activated a new crossing signal yesterday at South Beretania and Kaialiu streets. Leilani Mau, left, and Amy Ibaraki were very happy with the lights after making the first crossing of the morning. CLICK FOR LARGE
"It is better. You know how much time you have (to cross)," said Moiliili resident Hari Pant, who uses the crosswalk at least four times a day to walk from his Coolidge Street home to the University of Hawaii-Manoa, where he is working toward a master's degree in business administration.
"Now it is more safer," Pant said as he stood on the sidewalk with his 3-year-old daughter, Siddhi, and 8-year-old son, Nitesh, as they waited to cross South Beretania Street.
At the Kalihi intersection, used by many children and senior citizens, 17-year-old Nani Mariano said the lights and signals make crossing North School Street, a four-lane road, much safer. Mariano uses the intersection daily to make the 15-minute walk to Farrington High School
About eight years ago, there were some near misses there involving pedestrians, said Ty Fukumitsu, acting division chief of traffic signals for the Department of Transportation Services.
Curb ramps at each intersection were modified to meet Americans with Disabilities Act standards. Newly installed pedestrian buttons emit a soft "beep" sound and a flash of a small red light when pressed.
The city has a priority list, which is reviewed annually, of more than a dozen new intersections and those that need to either be modified or upgraded, Fukumitsu said.
Some of the intersections on the priority list include nonsignalized intersections such as Kilauea and 18th avenues in Kaimuki, Ulune and Kaimakani streets in Aiea and Ulune and Aliipoe Drive, also in Aiea. Installation at those intersections is slated to start soon.
AARP Hawaii commended the city for taking action. "Seeing the installation of the new traffic lights and other safety features is a win for the community, which has worked so hard to make their neighborhoods safe," Stanton said.
Thursday, July 26, 2007
» The Moiliili intersection traffic light project cost an estimated $298,000, while the Kalihi intersection project cost about $371,000. A Page A6 article yesterday incorrectly switched the figures.