HONOLULU (KHON2) — A makeshift memorial for 71-year-old Jenifer Van Lent along Keolu Drive who was killed on Jan. 2, when a driver hit her as she was walking in this crosswalk right next to Kaelepulu Elementary School.
The school’s principal said something has to change before anyone else gets hurt.
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Chanda Rowley, Kaelepulu Elementary School principal said “Our students use the same crosswalks — she was in a marked crosswalk and it’s important that our students be able to walk and bike safely to school.”
Adi Phillips daughter is a student at the school.
“We live a couple of blocks down off of Keolu Drive and we don’t really feel comfortable walking half the time just because,” said Phillips. “There’s so many cars and there speeding so quickly.”
She said they’ve had too many close calls on this stretch of road that have become notoriously dangerous.
While the speed limit in this area is 25 mph Department of Transportation Services said the average driver is traveling about 42 mph.
According to the DTS, there have been three pedestrian fatalities and 21 other accidents injuring pedestrians involving people of all ages, including two children.
“It’s not just an issue for our students,” said Rowley. “It’s really a community issue.”
Roger Fujii lives several hundred yards down the street from the school. His wall was demolished when a car crashed into it and several parked cars the day after Van Lent was killed.
“What I’m concerned is — the school here. Kids walking. [The vehicles] going about 55-60.” said Fujii said. “Now you hate to see any young person get hurt”
Lawmakers and DTS are working with the community to find a solution that can be implemented quickly — like adding refuge islands, curb extensions, gateway treatments or speed humps
Renee Espiau with DTS Complete Streets said, “The state really has been the one kind of pushing the raised crossings and speed humps in a manner.
“So if that’s the way the community wants to go then we’ll partner with the state and see what their timelines are,” Espiau continued. “But generally, it should be a matter of months and not years.”
Sen. Chris Lee said the legislature is working on bills that could provide funding.
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“These kinds of fixes and displays in other places just like this with their schools and dangers and repeated injury and accident absolutely it has to be expedited,” said Lee.