Friday, December 3, 1999

Another elderly
pedestrian hurt
crossing Pali Highway

The accident renews a call
for ways to slow traffic on
the heavily traveled road

By Mary Adamski


A Nuuanu man was seriously injured last night when he tried to cross the Pali Highway, along a section of the six-lane roadway residents and others say is dangerous .

A town-bound car struck the 80-year-old pedestrian at the Jack Lane intersection shortly after 6 p.m. with an impact that shattered the vehicle's windshield. He initially was listed in critical condition at Queen's Hospital, but was in serious but stable condition this morning, with cuts and bruises.

The driver, a 48-year-old Kaneohe man who was not cited, told police he didn't see the man.

The scene is one block from the Niolopa Place crosswalk where a car struck and killed Anna Hara, 90, on June 13.

Hara's death renewed a campaign by Nuuanu residents for a traffic light and other measures that could force traffic to slow down along a 1.3-mile corridor through residential neighborhoods. She was the fourth pedestrian killed on that stretch since 1994, and numerous other pedestrians have been injured.

"They've got to do something out here," said Honolulu police Sgt. Gordon Costa, one of the investigators at the accident scene. He said there was no indication that speeding or drinking were involved.

"This is a dangerous stretch, people need to be careful. We do what we can to enforce the (35 mph) speed limit," he said.

State Department of Transportation Director Kazu Hayashida said in October that he will accelerate the scheduled installation of a traffic signal. The targeted completion was moved up to late 2000 instead of May 2001, he said.

The state Legislature approved $60,000 in design funding, but still must appropriate money for construction of the traffic light, state Sen. Suzanne Chun Oakland said when state officials and residents met at an October session.

"We've been pushing for a light for how long," said Jack Lane resident Wilbur K.S. Ing, one of several nearby residents drawn last night by the too-familiar sight of flashing police lights.

"They (motorists) come down a little too fast," Ing said. "It's hard to judge distance, pedestrians have to go three lanes to get out of their path."

Ing said surveyors were measuring the roadway recently and he had hoped they were preparing for the stoplight construction.

"My uncle died out here in an auto accident," said Ing, "One of the housekeepers from here (Jack Lane) got run over. The daughter of a man from across the highway got hit."

Area neighborhood boards and residents have looked into other vehicle-slowing devices such as rumble strips, Ing said. "We were thinking of beautifying the medial strip in hopes drivers would slow down to enjoy it."

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