Hot Spot: Kalakaua Middle School

(HawaiiNewsNow) - Last year, the State Department of Transportation Pedestrian Master Plan identified Kalihi Street between North King Street and Dillingham Boulevard as one of 13 areas of concern for pedestrian safety on Oahu, as eight accidents involving pedestrians occurred in a four year period. This year, Kalakaua Middle School is reminding drivers to slow down in this dangerous crossing area for students and pedestrians.

More than 75 students, teachers, and community citizens joined with officers from Honolulu Police Department District 5 Community Policing with signs and banners to send a strong message to drivers to pay attention to pedestrians. The event was part of the Farmers Hawaii Hot Spots program, now in its 10th year of raising awareness for traffic and pedestrian safety statewide.

According to Michele Saito, President of Farmers Insurance Hawaii, parents and drivers need to be aware of speed limits and laws in school zones, and the traffic situations created in this busy corridor are among the worst in the state.

There are three mid-block crosswalks right in front of Kalakaua Middle School frequently used by students going to and from school making this a dangerous traffic area of numerous pedestrian accidents involving speeding and distracted drivers.

"Drivers on their way to work need to be aware that Kalihi Street between North King Street and Dillingham Boulevard is an extremely busy area for students crossing the street on the way to school," Saito said. "Some vehicles are overtaking cars that are stopped for pedestrians crossing in crosswalks, creating the potential for very serious traffic accidents. Drivers should stop when they see other cars stopped at a crosswalk to ensure pedestrians are clear from the roadway," said Saito.

Saito added that the fine for speeding in school zones is $297, and not yielding to pedestrians and jaywalking fines are $130 each. The speed limit in front of Kalakaua Middle School during school hours is 20 miles per hour.

The Farmers Hawaii Hot Spots program was started in 2002 in response to increased accidents and fatalities due to speeding. Schools or concerned community members interested in holding a Hot Spots event in their neighborhood should contact Farmers Hawaii at 808-544-3988.