Raised crosswalks: The ‘why’ behind the ‘where’

Local News

Raised crosswalks are designed to slow drivers down and to keep pedestrians safe.

They are growing in number across Oahu — and we wanted to find out how state officials decide where to build them.

Five raised pedestrian crosswalks slow traffic on Kalihi Street — where thousands of students cross the street during the day.

Ed Sniffen, deputy director of the State Transportation Department’s Highways Division, says, “But we also have kupuna walking the area at four in the morning. Dark times when we know there’s high volumes — high-speed traffic coming through, with a lot of people walking.”

Raised crosswalks have been completed along Farrington Highway near Waianae High School — and are coming to Fort Weaver Road near Ilima Intermediate School and maybe to others.

Sniffen says, “We looked at those areas because historically we see there’s high volumes of pedestrians, with high volumes of vehicles, going at higher speeds than the speed limit. These raised pedestrian crosswalks are helping tremendously in making sure that we change the culture of drivers going through the area.”

Sniffen says they are three, to three-and-a-half inches tall and typically six feet wide — and comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Waimanalo resident Bradford Wright says placing a speed-bump at least 15 feet before a crosswalk would be more effective.

“Having a speed bump, even if you wasn’t aware of it, and you hit that, and you wasn’t paying attention to the crosswalk, that’s going to jolt you, so you automatically going to pay attention.”

Sniffen explains that, “In these areas where we’re putting the pedestrian tables in, it’s about 25 to 30 miles per hour on the speed limit, so we’re designing them accordingly. If you go the speed limit, it’ll be a nice, smooth transition over. If you go faster, you’re going to feel the bump.”

Sniffen says the DOT will consider requests for raised crosswalks, not just from officials, but from the public.

“So, we entertain all requests the same. When the public comes in, if you send us an email, you call us, if we get it from your legislator or neighborhood board, we’ll look at everything.”

He says it doesn’t matter if it’s a state road or a county road — just let them know — and they will look into the possibility.

State Department of Transportation:

Public Affairs Office email: dotpao@hawaii.gov

Public Affairs Office phone: 587-2160

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