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Warning signal aims to ease dangers at Moiliili crosswalk

By Marcie Kagawa

LAST UPDATED: 01:34 a.m. HST, Dec 21, 2012

Five years after a car critically injured McCully resident Gwyne Isa in a Moiliili crosswalk, the city will dedicate a pedestrian-activated warning signal at the crosswalk today.

"One of the issues that I think we've all heard much about is un-signalized crosswalks," said Wayne Yoshi­oka, director of the Department of Transportation Services. "The goal is to increase safety at all un-signalized crosswalks, and in doing so, the Department of Transportation Services has been doing several projects to test at these crosswalks."

Pedestrians can activate the signal, an overhead yellow flashing light, at the South King Street crosswalk near Times Supermarkets, between Pawaa Lane and Hau­oli Street. The light will flash for 90 seconds.

The signal is not a command for drivers to stop, but is intended to increase their awareness of pedestrians in the crosswalk, Yoshi­oka said.

"Pedestrians have to remember that vehicles aren't required to stop," he said. "They're just warning beacons."

The signal is part of a pilot project to evaluate its effectiveness in improving pedestrian safety and could lead to the installation of similar devices elsewhere.

A similar pedestrian-activated signal that flashes a roadside yellow light is in use at a crosswalk on Kamehameha Highway, at the entrance to Hawaii Pacific University's Windward campus.

On Nov. 20, 2011, a month after its installation, HPU student Mariah Danforth-Moore was killed by a hit-and-run driver while using the crosswalk.

Emergency Medical Services responded to 35 pedestrian injuries on the stretch of South King Street between Kalakaua Avenue and University Avenue from 2007 to 2011, according to statistics from the state Department of Health.

"That whole corridor on King Street has actually experienced a high number of injuries, but that particular crosswalk we've been looking at for years," said Jackie Boland, director of outreach for AARP Hawaii.

"When you walk out on it, it's very hard for cars to see you. You'd have to be about a quarter of the way out already."

Ron Lockwood, McCully Neighborhood Board chairman, said, "For pedestrian safety we've been out sign-waving for cars to slow down and working with HPD. … (The board has) been active at this crosswalk since 2007, when Gwyne got hit. She's one of the AARP volunteers and a resident here, so it really struck home for us."

Isa sustained head, brain and other injuries in the accident, Lockwood said, and continues to undergo therapy in Hawaii and California. She will attend today's 10 a.m. dedication along with Mayor Peter Carlisle, other city officials and pedestrian safety advocates.

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loquaciousone wrote:
"One of the issues that I think we've all heard much about is un-signalized crosswalks," said Wayne Yoshi­oka, director of the Department of Transportation Services. "The goal is to increase safety at all un-signalized crosswalks, and in doing so, the Department of Transportation Services has been doing several projects to test at these crosswalks." What?
on December 21,2012 | 02:49AM
Kalaheo1 wrote:
I think he's saying that while the Star-Advertiser will gleefully report the false statement that "Hawaii got a 1.55 billion dollar check from the FTA," they won't ask Wayne Yoshioka what in the world he is talking about.
on December 21,2012 | 08:47AM
Pocho wrote:
This is CRAZY and a waste of money!!!. I gonna it's on King St. and there's a traffic light before and after this cross walk, RIGHT? Look at that set up, they could have made it into a regular stop lite mechanism and operate just for the pedestrian. Synchronizing the light with the intersection lights before and after this crosswalk. LOSE MONEY
on December 21,2012 | 01:08PM
bikemom wrote:
"Pedestrians have to remember that vehicles aren't required to stop," And even when they are required to stop, pedestrians need to pay attention.
on December 21,2012 | 04:16AM
4watitsworth wrote:
Exactly, pedestrians listen up. Please check for traffic and be sure it is clear before stepping into the crosswalk. I've seen too many people cross the street without even looking to see if cars are approaching. I've even seen people walk into the crosswalk (without lights) as cars are driving by and forcing cars to stop. Why are people in such a rush to cross a street even though they are not in a rush to get where they're going? People need to use common sense and have patience when crossing the street. People with children should always hold their hand or be sure they are holding on to you.
on December 21,2012 | 06:04AM
hilopango wrote:
As both a driver and a pedestrian in this area, on the flip side, why are drivers in such a rush as well? I've been in this exact crosswalk while drivers are going way past the posted speed limit, swerving around pedestrians. Who says that pedestrians can't be in a hurry to get where they're going? The bus stop is right there, and if you miss that bus you may have to wait 20 min for the next one, which will make you late for your destination. Workers on short lunch breaks are in a hurry to get their meal and get back to work. Granted, there are careless pedestrians who just step off the curb without looking, but there are also careless drivers who don't pay attention.
on December 21,2012 | 10:41AM
KekoaBradshaw wrote:
You're right, hilopango. These are the same drivers who drive through an insection after the light turned red. They're in such a rush to gain 15 seconds that the put others people's lives in danger.
on December 21,2012 | 11:56AM
KekoaBradshaw wrote:
Doesn't the law require that drivers stop if a pedetrian has entered a crooswalk? I think Wayne Yoshioka is wrong.
on December 21,2012 | 11:53AM
kiragirl wrote:
Pedestrians should use the traffic light crosswalk 300 feet away. But they won't because they are lazy even if it means risking their lives. If the city got rid of this push-button crosswalk, then pedestrians would be forced to use the traffic light crosswalk. City officials will look stupid at today's ceremony but in their eyes, they think they're doing great. If the city wants to retain this crosswalk, the push-button should activate that traffic light 300 feet away.
on December 21,2012 | 05:08AM
Pocho wrote:
This is CRAZY, Why have the pedestrian push a button to activate the yellow lights? Why don't we just flash the yellow caution light 24/7. I think this action may cause some confusion for younger kids crossing the street without parent supervision. Keep it simple and light that light 24/7
on December 21,2012 | 05:25AM
allie wrote:
good point
on December 21,2012 | 05:37AM
edster48 wrote:
Really?? Pushing a button is going to cause confusion? Any child young enough to be confused by pushing a button shouldn't be crossing the street without supervision in the first place. Please engage brain before posting.
on December 21,2012 | 06:04AM
Larry01 wrote:
Right on.
on December 21,2012 | 12:49PM
Pocho wrote:
go tell that to the CRAZY parents letting their kids go to the park unsupervised
on December 21,2012 | 01:01PM
4watitsworth wrote:
If the light is on 24/7, especially when there's a lot of traffic, people will not will know if pedestrians are actually crossing the street. When they see the light activated, they'll know people are in the crosswalk and should slow down and prepare to stop.
on December 21,2012 | 06:11AM
pakeheat wrote:
good one 4watitsworth
on December 21,2012 | 07:54AM
Pocho wrote:
what if the light stops flashing when someones in the crosswalk?
on December 21,2012 | 01:00PM
Pocho wrote:
So if the pedestrian does push the button or the caution lights stop flashing while they're in crosswalk no worry then, Their fault they get banged and run overed? Get a Grip people, just lieave the flashing light on, that signals caution "always"
on December 21,2012 | 01:03PM
Larry01 wrote:
If the light flashes all the time, people will get used to seeing it, eventually block it out, and then it means nothing.
on December 21,2012 | 12:49PM
Wazdat wrote:
"Pedestrians have to remember that vehicles aren't required to stop," he said. "They're just warning beacons."

This is a recipe for an ACCIDENT and people need to assume the cars will NOT stop. Another fine example of your INCOMPETENT DOT...WOW

on December 21,2012 | 05:54AM
kiragirl wrote:
Today's ceremony will glorify their incompetency!
on December 21,2012 | 06:03AM
TigerEye wrote:
The purpose of the signal is to let motorists know that someone is in the crosswalk. How in the world is it more dangerous for them to know than not know? And, what does the DOT have to do with a crosswalk on S. King Street?
on December 21,2012 | 09:15AM
kiragirl wrote:
The Transportation Department handles all matters related to traffic.
on December 21,2012 | 09:24AM
Wazdat wrote:
the DOT handles ALL aspects of roads. Because if you are in the far lane


on December 21,2012 | 09:34AM
McCully wrote:
First of all, there's too many crosswalks in the area. About 30 feet from these warning lights, there's a crosswalk. The city should eliminate all these crossing and have the public use the lights. Oh yea, I forgot, too lazy to use the lightto save their life.
on December 21,2012 | 06:29AM
Wazdat wrote:
on December 21,2012 | 06:41AM
kiragirl wrote:
Agree. For example. There is a crosswalk on Sheridan/King and the traffic light is about 150 feet away on King/Keaumoku.
on December 21,2012 | 08:05AM
loquaciousone wrote:
Doesn't Yousucka know that in Hawaii, RED means stop, GREEN means go, and YELLOW means go faster?
on December 21,2012 | 06:30AM
pakeheat wrote:
No loquaciousone, RED means try and beat it just before you are in the intersection, YELLOW means nothing, and GREEN means I'm safe for now and no tickets, LOL. MERRY CHRISTMAS!
on December 21,2012 | 07:58AM
KekoaBradshaw wrote:
Actually, GREEN means drive thru the intersection slowly because some lolo is coming thru on the red because they "saw yellow" a block away and they sped up so as not to waste a second of their precious time.
on December 21,2012 | 11:59AM
loquaciousone wrote:
See YELLOW means go faster. So why would they put YELLOW lights on the crosswalk?
on December 21,2012 | 12:16PM
islandsun wrote:
You have some pedestrians that shouldnt be out there on the streets without help. Then you have others that just dont care to pay attention. The laws have embolded pedestrians to take chances and have a false sense of security.
on December 21,2012 | 06:40AM
Wazdat wrote:
on December 21,2012 | 06:42AM
pakeheat wrote:
Well islandsun, I'm a law abiding pedestrian and I also drive, twice I was almost hit by cars when I'm about halfway into the street on the crosswalk while I have the white walk signal on. Drivers think they own the road too, they need to pay attention too and not text.
on December 21,2012 | 08:01AM
islandsun wrote:
You are a minority unfortunately.
on December 21,2012 | 11:28AM
pakeheat wrote:
yeah that's true because they got hit by cars already.
on December 21,2012 | 01:32PM
islandsun wrote:
There are plenty drivers that shouldnt be on the street at all too. How they get their license, I dont know. Maybe from a bribe.
on December 21,2012 | 04:07PM
Bdpapa wrote:
In the morning, as the sun is coming up, you can hardly see because of the glare. You can't fix that!
on December 21,2012 | 06:50AM
herbkobayashi wrote:
It's about time something was done to the dangerous pedestrian crosswalks on King Street between Kalakaua and University Avenues. I have been nearly run-over more than once in that area since returning to Oahu in retirement six years ago. Though having a car, I seldom use it so as to ease the traffic congestion (the #1 concern on Oahu). Instead my main transport is The Bus , the best mass system I've seen in the fifty years of living in the Upper 48. Drivers please be considerate. (signed) From One Who Could Be a Driver, But Chose Not To.
on December 21,2012 | 09:12AM
echo808 wrote:
More emphasis should be placed on educating the pedestrians. They lah-di-dah across the road, don't look at the traffic, expecting drivers to stop, assume drivers see them. I can go on and on about how pedestrians need to take responsiblilty for their own safety.
on December 21,2012 | 09:59AM
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