Hawaii’s newest ‘Barnes Dance’ crosswalk, how to use it

Local News

HONOLULU (KHON2) — Some may have noticed a major intersection has a whole new look. The crosswalk at Keeaumoku and Makaloa streets near the Walmart is now a “scramble” crosswalk.

Barnes Dance crosswalks — also known as pedestrian scrambles — allow people to cross the street in any direction.

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“A traffic signal fades, where all directions of traffic have to stop and pedestrians can cross in any direction, including diagonal,” said Renee Espiau, Complete Streets administrator.

Espiau said these crossings were popularized by traffic engineer Henry Barnes in the 50s and 60s. Waikiki has had them for at least 20 years — the one on Kalakaua and Lewers is clearly marked. Not all of them are, however, like Keeaumoku and Makaloa.

“So we’re going to be expanding the use of those sort of high visibility markings along Kalakaua, we’re not yet sure if we’re going to do that for Keeaumoku, we’ll see, hopefully, the locals will kind of get used to it,” Espiau said.

Ashlyn, a barista at Starbucks Keeaumoku, said the scramble helps on her way to work.

“Because it, for a second it’s like ‘okay, no cars at all,’ so you’re not gonna worry about someone not seeing a red and like, turning, making a left turn into you,” she said.

These scrambles work the same way as a regular crosswalk; Push the walking signal, wait for your turn, and cross when the walking man shows up. They were given the name ‘Barnes Dance,’ because people literally danced in the streets after they were installed. Here is a tip from Waikiki resident Linda Kay, if these crosswalks still seem daunting.

“I would say, ‘aloha! When you see all of these extra lines in the street you can go ahead and cross, and if you’re afraid to, come with me I’ll take you,” Kay said.

Officials said there are plans to install these crossings in Kailua and on Kapahulu Avenue, but they are still working out details. They cannot be found on neighbor islands yet because they are designed for a lot of foot and vehicle traffic.

Espiau said the Keeaumoku and Makaloa crossing was funded, designed and installed by a private developer — which means taxpayers were not burdened with a high cost.

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“It was funded by the adjacent Azure condo development as part of conditions of their approval. So really exciting that we get improvements for the community at very little expense to the taxpayers,” she said.

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