Flashing lights at crosswalks could be coming to Pali Highway

Local News

Exactly three months ago Raymond Endow was killed in the crosswalk on the Pali Highway and Wood Street.

Cries from the community for more safety measures are finally being answered.

“I’m going to ask for money to put in signalized crosswalks at those 4 locations where there are unsignalized crosswalks,” said Senator Karl Rhoads, who represents the Nuuanu and downtown area.

The Department of Transportation calls the signalized crosswalks, rectangular rapid flashing beacons or RRFBs.

The location of the four RRFBs on the Pali Highway would be at the crosswalk just past Waokanaka Street, on Wood Street, near Dowsett Avenue and by Ahipuu Street.

All four crosswalks are currently marked with delineators, but residents said they don’t work.

Paula Kurashige lives in Nuuanu. News of Senators Rhoads’ plan is music to her ears.

“I think that’s the most wonderful thing I’ve heard and I’m glad that the state is going forward,” said Kurashige.

Rhoads said he is requesting $5.2 million for the four signalized crosswalks. They could cost of $1.3 million each.

KHON: “Why is it so expensive?”

“I think mainly it’s just a function of a hot economy and contractors are not really hungry right now. So if we put a bid out there, if they don’t get it, they’re not really worried about it. So they are bidding high,” Rhoads explained.

“Monday aside, there’s just a plain safety issue. It’s safer. If you have people dying in crosswalks it’s not good thing. That’s the real reason that we’re proposing this,” said Rhoads.

There are currently two rectangular rapid flashing beacons on Kalanianaole in Waimanalo. One at Mo’ole Street and another at Nakini Street. They are one example recently installed by the Department of Transportation.

Residents said it’s much safer now.

“I see a big difference because when the children used to come down and even the kupuna… they would be waiting for cars and darting across the street. But, now especially when it’s getting towards dusk, the lights are really apparent. It really does help with the traffic stopping letting them cross,” said Waimanalo resident Kat Davis.

The DOT said the RRFB’s in Waimanalo cost less than $1.3 million. But the cost depends on existing infrastructure and other things.

Even if the bill gets approved, the signalized crosswalks won’t go up any time soon.

“I would guess a couple of years at a minimum before they’re up and running,” said Rhoads.

“We don’t need any more people killed. We want this done immediately…It’s going to take two years? No. I want it done now,” said Kurashige.

Rhoads said adding the signalized crosswalks would not impact traffic on the Pali highway. Pedestrians would simply push the button and the lights would flash letting drivers know someone is in the crosswalk. 

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