HONOLULU(KHON2) — Dozens of pedestrians have died on Honolulu roadways so far this year. Officials said they are working on safety counter measures to prevent more senseless deaths.
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Fifty — that’s the number of lives lost in pedestrian related fatalities in 2023 alone. KHON sat down with the Daniel Alexander, Honolulu Department of Transportation Services Vision Zero coordinator, who said they are doing what they can to change that .
“Pedestrian safety is a critical issue for us and they represent far too many of our fatalities and injuries,” he explained.
According to Alexander, there are a number of methods they rely on, including pedestrian crossing islands, raised crosswalks, bulb outs and rectangular rapid flashing beacons better known as RRFBs.
“Bigger interventions like roundabouts or traffic circles are really important but tend to be bigger projects though.”
The price tag on pedestrian safety measures can range from about $20,000 for a crossing island, to $300,000 to install RRFBs and into the millions for a roundabout.
In an effort to be more nimble and cost effective, DTS is launching an RRFB pilot project in the next six months.
“The difference is the pilot version is solar powered and it’s also on a conventional signpost. so it’s much light, it’s not necessarily hurricane grade,” Alexander added. “And it’s designed more if it breaks you just got get a new one.”
He said the pilot will cost $25,000 compared to $300,000 for the hardwired version.
One of the places it will be tested is at School and Ahunui Streets in Kalihi.
Abbie Chong-Kee, who lives in the area and uses the crosswalk there all the time is eager to see some improvements.
“If the city puts something in, I think for our safety anything is good you know cause over here they go pretty fast and people always crossing,” Chong-Kee said.
According to Alelxander there are several other quick build projects coming to Kailua, Kapolei and Mililani in the coming month as well.
There are number of variables that determine which type of counter measure they install in an area including: the number of lanes, traffic patterns, speed limit and much more.
DTS said one of the most successful projects to date is at Kamehameha IV Road and School Street where they implemented a road diet.
“We were able to accommodate the traffic with fewer lanes,” Alexander explained. “And we made it one lane direction, center turn lanes and it reduced a lot of the crossing conflict for pedestrians and slowed traffic at a really big safety impact.”
Alexander said they went from 17 crashes three years prior to the road diet, to five the three years after. And three pedestrian accidents to zero during that same time-frame.
No matter what tools they implement it’s really up to drivers and pedestrians to share the road safely.
“We can all take on our personal roll any time we go out and are driving,” Alexander said. “Just do our best to keep others safe and that can really make a difference.”