HONOLULU (KHON2) — No right on red! Oahu drivers are seeing more of those signs at major intersections. The state said it’s a renewed effort to increase safety for pedestrians and bicyclists. But it’s not sitting too well with some drivers.
Several intersections along Ala Moana Boulevard now have signs saying no right turn on red, including on Piikoi Street, Hobron Lane and Kamakee Street. The State Department of Transportation said there’s a higher than average number of pedestrian and bicycle involved crashes in the areas.
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“When people are going up to turn right at the main road, they’re not necessarily looking in front of them, where pedestrians are, where bicyclists are. They’re looking left to see where the gaps are,” said Ed Sniffen, director-designate of the Hawaii Department of Transportation.
Kamakee Street also has stanchions that prevent drivers from turning right from Ala Moana Boulevard.
“That area we’re seeing high-speed turns with drivers, not really looking for pedestrians or bicyclists as they went through that area. Those high-speed turns became extreme safety issues,” said Sniffen.
Some drivers aren’t happy saying it just leads to more traffic.
“It’s just causing more congestion and unnecessary traffic for those trying to head to work and those coming from work, it’s a hassle,” said Frederick Hertmann, a Honolulu resident.
Some drivers said they were really surprised by it. They’re so used to making that right on red in certain intersections that they never even paid attention to the signs.
“I think it’s kind of common when we’re driving especially on a familiar road we go on automatic pilot that’s really normal,” said Katherine Yoo, a Honolulu resident.
We caught several cars making the right on red. Sniffen said DOT is willing to put electronic signs if necessary.
“In those areas, we’ll start putting up some message boards to ensure that they see that something has changed in that area. And it will be preceding the intersections to ensure that it’s right in front of them, that something’s different,” he said.
Sniffen added that traffic lights can also be adjusted to ease the congestion. He said No Right on Red signs have also been placed on Fort Weaver Road, Farrington Highway and Kalanianaole. But there are no plans to add any more.
There were 117 traffic fatalities last year, which was up from the previous two years.
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“So we’re going back to these pre-Covid crash fatality numbers that I just never wanted to see again. We want to make sure that we take an aggressive approach to minimizing these fatalities,” said Sniffen.