RICHARD WALKER / RWALKER@STARBULLETIN.COM
Pedestrians crossed the intersection at Farrington Highway and Leoku Street in Waipahu on Friday. The state will begin installing pedestrian countdown timers at intersections along the highway in the next few weeks.
4,019 pedestrians cited
The five-month total is about double the number for all of 2006
Honolulu police have issued 4,019 citations to pedestrians for violating crosswalk laws since the department began an aggressive campaign to reduce pedestrian deaths in March.
The number of tickets is a marked increase from last year, when police issued 2,157 crosswalk citations to both motorists and pedestrians for the whole year.
In March and April alone this year, police cited 2,139 for driving violations, and 2,137 for pedestrian violations.
Complete driving citations for this year were not immediately available, but police Lt. Jerry Wojcik said it appears diligent enforcement has made drivers and pedestrians more aware of watching out for each other.
"Knock on wood, the campaign seemed to have been effective," said Wojcik, who headed the task force. "There hasn't been many deaths since the beginning of the year."
During the first 10 weeks of the year, there were 10 pedestrian deaths, prompting calls for stricter enforcement and safer crosswalks.
Since then there have been three pedestrian deaths, bringing the total this year to 13. The crosswalk task force ended in May, trickling the enforcement policy down to the district levels, Wojcik said.
But there were still 1,882 citations for crosswalk violations issued from May through last week, police said.
"We're looking at some other programs for later this year," Wojcik said. "For now, we educated the individual districts and they're carrying the program until we come up with something else."
Within the next two weeks, 68 crosswalk countdown timers will be installed on Farrington Highway in Waipahu, said state transportation spokesman Scott Ishikawa.
And a month later, the state will start work on improvements to Ala Moana Boulevard from Fort Street to beyond Ala Moana Center. The state will install 92 countdown timers at crosswalks.
"We'll also be changing out the traffic lights to make them brighter, so it'll be easier for drivers and pedestrians to see," Ishikawa said.
The state is spending $18 million on roadway work and pedestrian safety measures. The city also has plans to install 120 timers within the year.
"We will soon be sitting down with the city to discuss which areas we want to tackle," Ishikawa said. "As more projects get under way, we will let the public know."
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Here are ways to protect yourself on the streets:
» Use the crosswalk: It's a pain, but walk to the nearest crosswalk or cross at street corners.
» Make eye contact: Before stepping off the road, get the driver's attention to let them know you're there. Wave if you have to. Also, pay attention to drivers who could be turning into your pathway when the light changes.
» Follow pedestrian control signals: Remember, you can get ticketed for beginning to cross when a red signal is flashing or steady.
» Look left, right and left again: It's the golden rule of crossing the street. Look before you step off the curb, but keep looking left and right with every lane you cross.
» Use sidewalks: It is unlawful to walk on the road when sidewalks are available. If there are no sidewalks, walk facing traffic.
» Wear bright-colored clothes: Your best bets, in order from best to good: reflective, white, yellow and red.
» Be cautious of driveways and parking lots: Look for brake and reverse lights. Make sure the driver sees you; if not, you should be the one to stop.