HONOLULU (KHON2) — Pedestrian safety along the Pali Highway is a long-standing issue for Nuuanu residents, many including the widow of a man who was struck while crossing the Pali are calling for traffic signals to be installed, while the money that was aside for that project is close to expiring.
Use it or lose it, $5.2 million allocated in 2019 by the state legislature to install four traffic lights on the Pali is coming close to its lapsing date of June 30.
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Senator Karl Rhoads said the traffic signals would only turn red when a pedestrian needs to cross, the Hawaii Department of Transportation said the money has not been spent.
Rhoads said, “this case, there’s been several deaths on that stretch with un-signalized crosswalk. So I don’t know what they’re waiting for.”
The bill went into effect after the death of 83-year-old Raymond Endow, who was killed while crossing the Pali on a crosswalk in 2018. Crossing signals and humps were placed to improve pedestrian safety, Endow’s widow Annette Endow said, even with those improvements, she has not crossed the Pali since her husband’s death.
“I haven’t crossed it since then, because I remember he always told us you be careful,” Endow said. “So when we go walking around the block, he prefers that we go alone separately because he said what if we both get hit, and the cars coming hitting us both, and I said that’s silly but hey maybe he’s right.”
People who live in the area said many drivers continue to speed on the Pali despite the crosswalk humps in place.
Endow said, “You just don’t know, you don’t plan to get hit, you don’t know where the speeding cars are and the day he died it was one-thirty afternoon on a bright nice day like this.”
The HDOT said it has two raised crosswalks in the upper and lower Dowsett area along Pali Highway. One hump at Ahipuu will be removed and not replaced.
Part of an HDOT statement said:
“The raised crosswalks have reduced speeds along that busy highway, making it safer for pedestrians, bicyclists, and drivers as well. The raised crosswalks went in at a fraction of the costs of installing traffic signals. And if need be in the foreseeable future signals could be added, but at this time HDOT does not have plans to install traffic signals at these raised crosswalks.”
Rhoads agreeed that the humps do help slow down traffic, but he wants an alternative where cars come to a complete stop while people cross.
Rhoads said, “it does slow the traffic down at least temporarily, but you don’t want, as a pedestrian, I don’t want the traffic to slow down I want it to stop.”
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The $5.2 million was appropriated to the HDOT solely for the purpose to install the traffic lights.