HONOLULU (KHON2) –The first phase of the Honolulu rail system will take passengers from East Kapolei to Aloha Stadium, but a stop along the way is raising concerns among the community.
“We want all of our residents including our seniors to be able to use the rail safely and effectively,” said Charmaine Doran, Pearl City Neighborhood Board vice chair.
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KHON2 News took a look at the Pearl Highlands rail station where community members and residents are concerned about the location of the station along Kamehameha Highway and the lack of access to the actual facility.
In order to get to the Pearl Highlands rail station, guests will have to cross traffic using a crosswalk, but once they get to the other side, they’ll have to use a narrow sidewalk.
“That makes it unsafe for my neighbors, for me, for residents throughout our area and we’re going to have a lot of people using it from Waipahu and Mililani as well,” Doran said. “So it’s beyond Pearl City and we need that to be done in order for it to be safe.”
With thousands of rail riders expected to hop on board starting June 30, KHON2 News asked the Honolulu Department of Transportation about the safety plans for the area.
The Department of Transportation Services said it’s looking into an interim solution by installing a raised speed cushion at the crosswalk, in addition to a speed hump. It hopes to do so by the rail opening date.
“Even longer term, DTS has already applied for federal funding to ultimately fund an elevated crosswalk, but candidly that’s years away,” said Roger Morton, DTS director.
Area council members said the short-term solutions might not be enough.
“I’m not even sure the raised crosswalk will actually address the issue right now to make sure no one gets accidentally hit,” said Val Okimoto, Honolulu City Councilmember.
“Those are issues that we will be addressing. We’ll watch all parts of the system, but that one is particularly on our list,” Morton said.
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City and state transportation leaders will have a meeting this week to discuss possible solutions.