HONOLULU(KHON2) — Some of Honolulu’s most dangerous crosswalks could soon be getting flashing crosswalk indicators according to the City.
They’re called rectangular rapid flashing beacons, or RRFB for short. Renee Espiau, the City’s Complete streets administrator, said their purpose is to warn drivers of pedestrians crossing.
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“The most typical thing that we see on crash reports where pedestrians are hit was the drivers didn’t see the pedestrian,” Espiau explained. “So that’s one of the main goals of the RRFB, is to catch their attention, catch their eye, hopefully in time for them to stop and yield to a Crossing pedestrian safely.”
She said they have about a dozen RRFBs in the works.
“We have a number of installations that we’re working on, several in Pearl City, Kaneohe — pretty much all the places where we have a history of pedestrian crashes,” she said.
They’re already installing one at King Street and Richard Lane in Kalihi.
Another is planned for Moanalua Road and Nalopaka Place and on Waimano Home Road and Hoomalu Street.
The crosswalk on Waimano Home Road and Kuahaka Street, where a 17-year-old was critically injured in 2019, is also on the list. But the City plans to remove that crosswalk and install an RRFB a block down the street to make it safer for pedestrians to cross.
“It’s always safety reasons for putting in these types of devices,” said Ty Fukumitsu, Honolulu Department of Transportation Services Engineer.
The city recently installed one on Kailua road.
While Espiau said it takes several years to compile statistics on its effectiveness in a new location, she added that national data shows they make a difference.
“All across the country, they reduce crashes by about 50%,” said Espiau.
“We have lots of tools in our toolbox of traffic engineering,” Fukumitsu said. “And it’s not one tool fits all we do the study to determine what’s the best solution for different problems.”
According to Fukumitsu, the city is looking at installing speed tables in several locations but he said they serve a different purpose.
“Speed tables are basically used more for controlling the speeding,” he explained. “That’s why you have the name, ‘speed table.’ RRFB is not for speeding, RRFB is for pedestrian safety.”
Espaiau said the price of installing an RRFB can vary.
“We tend to see them coming around $400,000 to $600,000, which of course sounds like a lot, but when you think about the love ones that it saves, if it can protect lives, if it can protect people from having life-changing injuries, it’s really not a lot of money.”
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Construction on the RRFB on King Street is underway and is scheduled to be finished on Nov. 10.