“Put the crosswalk back on Hawaii Kai Drive.” That’s what residents are urging the city to do.
It was painted over in May and one person has already died in the area trying to cross the street.
It’s a matter of safety. That’s what people who live on Hawaii Kai Drive said. It is heavily traveled by cars and pedestrians. They want to know what else needs to happen for the city to put the crosswalk back.
On Monday, Makbul ur Rahman was hit by a car and died. He was roughly 150 feet away from where the crosswalk used to be on Hawaii Kai Drive.
Maxine Rutowski is a neighborhood board member and lives in the Plaza Hawaii Kai next to the missing crosswalk. She said it’s very dangerous not having the crosswalk nearby.
“It makes it very difficult not being able to get from one side to the other,” Rutowski said.
It’s roughly a half mile from the existing crosswalks at Hahaione Street and Keahole Street.
“That’s quite a distance for a lot of people including the older community for anyone who has a difficult time walking. They may be taking the bus, which is the whole point of having a bus stops here. They need to have access to that,” explained Rutowski.
It also poses problems for the KCAA Preschool.
“You’re dealing with small children. And if anybody walks their child to school they would be able to walk at the crosswalk, that is not there any longer,” she said.
So why was the crosswalk removed in the first place?
In June the city said: “the crosswalk was inadvertently removed and will be repainted.”
But that hasn’t happened.
State Representative Gene Ward said the city is making excuses.
“The lawyers came in and they said we have to do an Environmental Impact Statement. We pushed back. What do you mean? You mistakenly removed the crosswalk. Why would you have to do an EIS?” Ward said.
Ward explained that the city then agreed to bypass the EIS.
“Then, two weeks later the city said you got to do an ADA compliance. You’ve got to jackhammer the curb to make it wheelchair accessible,” said Ward.
That could take years. For now Hawaii Kai residents are still waiting.
“I hope the city and county will wake up, put the thing back in and forget about all the other excuses that they been using so far,” Ward said.
Residents said they simply want a safe place to cross the street.
“We all hope that the crosswalk can be put back as soon as possible. We’re hoping that it will be enhanced with other safety measures, reflective signs, possibly the bumps on the streets to make driver is aware,” said Rutowski.
Ward said he will be asking for more.
“I’m putting in legislation that all crosswalks are going to have reflectors at night. Reflectors pounded into the pavement. Very cheap so I hope there will be no excuses. And for the most severe ones, where there’s been fatalities, there should be blinking lights, LED in the pavement. It’s safety first. That’s all it is. Simple, not rocket science,” said Ward.