Kaimuki presses forBy Suzanne Tswei
Vernon Tam worries about cars that barrel down Kilauea Avenue at "rocket speed."
Tam, chairman of the Kaimuki Neighborhood Board, worries that pedestrians who cross the street, especially at the intersection with 16th Avenue, are risking their lives.
The intersection fronts Kapiolani Community College and has no crosswalks or other safety measures -- apparently because no one planned for them when the state widened Kilauea Avenue, Tam said.
Fifteen months ago, the neighborhood board asked the city to paint a crosswalk there. It is still waiting for an answer.
"I think we've been very patient," Tam said. "It's been a year and nothing has been done. We don't even know if the answer is yes or no."
Mike Oshiro, a city traffic engineer, told a board meeting this month that the delay was due partly to a traffic pattern study that the city had to conduct first. Also, a city worker responsible for the case has been sick for weeks, he said.
Oshiro said the study is complete but he could not provide the results nor say whether the city plans to grant the board's request.
"We are afraid that in time, more people will be hurt if traffic measures are not taken," Tam said.
In September 1997, the board asked the city to paint a crosswalk at the intersection, Tam said. About a month later, a woman pedestrian was struck by a van and killed, just a block away from the intersection.
The victim was Sharon McGuire, 57. A woman driving a van, turning right onto 15th Avenue from Kilauea, could not see McGuire because the morning sun was shinning in her eyes, police traffic investigators said.
Although the fatality occurred at 15th Avenue, Tam said it serves as a reminder that the intersection at 16th Avenue, where many students and residents cross the street, is dangerous.
"Plus, they put in a wheelchair ramp there. It seems silly to have a wheelchair ramp when there are no traffic safety measures."
Tam said a crosswalk or other traffic measures should have been put in place when Kilauea was widened last year. But the widening was the state's responsibility, while the traffic measures were the city's.
"The two didn't communicate, and everything just fell through the cracks," he said.
Maynard Young, director of facilities for University of Hawaii community colleges, said he does not know why pedestrian safety was not planned for the intersection.
Tam said a traffic signal at the intersection would be nice, but that it should at least have a crosswalk. The request will be put on the board's agenda "until we get it," he said.
"We are not giving up," Tam said.