Could giving pedestrians a head start make crosswalks safer? - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Could giving pedestrians a head start make crosswalks safer?

(Image: Hawaii News Now) (Image: Hawaii News Now)
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

New York City converted many of its busy intersections to give pedestrians a head start when crossing the street.

Now City Councilman Joey Manahan wants to try it here.

The technical term is "leading pedestrian intervals."

"What that does is it gives a person in a crosswalk a 3 to 7 second head start on the vehicle traffic that's going in the same direction," Manahan said.

He's introduced a bill urging the city administration to study and decide if it could work here to reduce pedestrian injuries or fatalities. 

So far, this year 10 people have been killed in pedestrian accidents in Honolulu, compared to 12 for all of 2017. 

"In other cities where they've implemented it it's just a simple adjustment of the a light and synchronization. It's relatively low cost," Manahan said. 

Honolulu Complete Streets Administrator Chris Clark said the concept will be considered as the city develops a comprehensive pedestrian master plan.

"As part of that we're going to develop some warrants for when this treatment would be most appropriate," he said.

But Clark said any change in timing of walk signals and green lights needs to account for how it will slow down vehicles and affect bus schedules.

"We want to make sure that where we put this treatment in that it's the safest place and doesn't adversely impact the other traveling public," he said.

Manahan would also like to see the city add "all-way stop" intersections like those on Kalakaua Avenue to Chinatown and downtown Honolulu. The stop allows all pedestrians to cross simultaneously while traffic is stopped at red lights.

"It reduces the amount of convergence between automobiles and pedestrians," he said.

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