Some changes on Kapiolani Boulevard are causing confusion for both drivers and pedestrians.
Crosswalks at the intersections of Kapiolani Boulevard with Wiliwili Street and Paani Street have been removed.
However, while the white crosswalk markings have been painted over, the pedestrian crossing signs remain.
“I kind of hesitated because, is it still legal to cross here? But they still have the little openings there and stuff,” said Lamaine Billingsly, a McCully resident.
“I think it is very confusing because all this time it has been white and the cars know that and they slow for us and we walk in the crosswalk,” said another McCully resident, Piilani Lua.
In a letter from the City and County of Honolulu to the area neighborhood board dated May of last year, the City says “due to the high traffic of volume and number of lanes on Kapiolani Boulevard”, there would need to be “substantial improvements to accommodate pedestrians.”
However adding, “a traffic light wouldn’t be feasible since there’s a light just down the road.” The City recommended to have the crosswalks removed. You can see the section below.
“I think in good faith, they really should have reached out to the community and got some public input before following through with this,” said Tim Streitz, Mccully and Moilili neighborhood board chair.
The City says people are still allowed to cross at the intersection by law, even though there are no crosswalk markings.
But Streitz thinks just having the pedestrian signs without crosswalk markings won’t work.
“They are one more cue to drivers that may not be particularly scanning left and right on the road when they’re driving to look out for pedestrians. So by removing those you are making it unsafe for pedestrians to cross,” said Streitz.
Pedestrians say they agree it’s a safety hazard.
“A lot of times you know, we’re having to get the drivers to stop, and so if there’s no white crosswalk, I don’t think they’re gonna be prepared to stop,” said Lua. “I don’t think I’ll use it while it’s black.”
Streitz says he will add the issue of the blacked-out crosswalks on the agenda of the next Moiliili and McCully Neighborhood Board meeting. That will be held on June 6th.