Honolulu Star-Bulletin - Kokua Line

Kokua Line

By June Watanabe

Thursday, September 23, 1999

Trying to beat the
crosswalk lights is risky

Question: Can the crosswalk lights on Ala Moana Boulevard by the Hilton Hawaiian Village and also on Kapiolani Boulevard near McCully Street be longer? We can't get all the way across the street before the light changes and the cars want to turn.

Answer: City traffic inspectors checked the timing of the crosswalk signals at Ala Moana and Ena and Kalia roads, and also at Kapiolani and McCully and found them to be in accordance with federal standards. So there are no plans to reset the timings.

The city follows guidelines set by the Federal Highways Administration in determining the length of "Walk" and 

"Don't Walk" times, according to Cheryl Soon, director for the city Department of Transportation Services.

The guidelines are found in the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices.

The primary consideration is the crossing distance, Soon said, with the recommended "Walk" time set at seven seconds and the flashing "Don't Walk" time determined by dividing the crossing distance by a rate of four feet per second.

"The pedestrian guidelines are followed by many states in order to provide consistency throughout the nation," Soon said.

They also help the city determine whether the crossing times are safe and appropriately set, she said.

Q: We went to a funeral at Mililani one Sunday afternoon and were leaving about 7:30 p.m. when there was a commotion down the road, where the correctional facility road is. I told my husband to watch out because it was hard to see the policeman, dressed in black, directing traffic. My husband told the officer, "It's hard to see you" and he replied, "I know." Why don't they wear a reflector-type vest or even direct traffic with one of those neon-type wands? We lost one policeman recently (on Maui) and don't want to lose another if we can prevent it.

A: Special-duty (off-duty) officers are required to wear reflective vests and white gloves when involved in traffic control, said Honolulu Police Department spokeswoman Michelle Yu.

However, although on-duty officers are instructed to wear the vests and gloves, they are not required to do so, she said.

Yu said it was hard to respond to the incident you cite because of a lack of details.

If it was an emergency, perhaps the officer did not have time to put on the vest and gloves. Or perhaps it was not dark when he started directing traffic, she said.


To the bus driver who was driving erratically on the H-1 freeway on Saturday, Sept. 10. Then, to get to the Lunalilo off-ramp, he just crossed over solid lines. As taxpayers, we would end up having to pay if he got into an accident. Something should be done about drivers like this. -- No name

(We passed your complaint on to Oahu Transit Services, which operates TheBus system for the city.

("We've improved our focus on safety a lot and reduced our accidents a lot," said Roger Morton, vice president/operations. But with about 1,000 drivers, every once in a while, one will do something flagrant, he said.

(Providing a bus number, time and date of such an incident will help officials in calling in a driver to say he or she was observed driving unsafely, he said. That will remind the driver that, in addition to safety concerns, "he's driving a billboard," Morton said.)

Need help with problems? Call Kokua Line at 525-8686,
fax 525-6711, or write to P.O. Box 3080, Honolulu 96802.
Email to kokualine@starbulletin.com

E-mail to City Desk

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