Hawaii Kai Crosswalk Raises Concerns Among Some Residents

Jay Paynter
Jay Paynter

HAWAII KAI (KHNL) - In Hawaii Kai, some residents hope to prevent a deadly accident. They say a busy section of Kalanianaole Highway often forces pedestrians to face off with traffic in a dangerous game of cat and mouse.

Residents say cars often speed through the neighborhood. Even with the crosswalk, drivers hardly ever yield, leaving pedestrians to fend for themselves.

Cars race down Kalanianaole Highway in Hawaii Kai.

"Anywhere from 40 (mph) to there again, 60," said Jay Paynter, a long-time Hawaii Kai resident. "I've driven this road 50, and I've been passed."

Paynter lives just off of the highway, near a marked crosswalk. He said it's an accident waiting to happen because cars don't yield to pedestrians.

"I've seen people stand here for ten minutes," he said.

The challenge is waiting for a safe time to cross.

Cars aren't usually expecting pedestrians on a busy highway. So you end up waiting and waiting until it's safe to cross.

During our experiment, about a hundred cars zoomed by. None of them stopped. I had to wait five minutes before I could make it to the other side of the highway.

"It's okay for somebody young and in good shape, and can actually take off running if they have to, but you shouldn't have to do that when you're in a crosswalk," said Paynter.

It's worse during rush hour, when drivers are especially in a hurry. Paynter hopes city officials do something to make this crosswalk safer.

"I believe there needs to be maybe a flashing yellow light or what have you," he said.

Residents hoping for a solution before another fatal pedestrian accident on Oahu.

The Department of Transportation said it's tried a crosswalk signal in Makaha, but thieves stole the blinking pole twice. The cost to replace it is $50,000.

Officials said they will look into possible changes with the Hawaii Kai crosswalk.