Pedestrian Safety Volunteers Urge Governor to Release Funds

Jackie Boland
Jackie Boland

KALIHI (KHNL) -- 2008 is off to a tragic start for elderly pedestrians. Now, AARP Hawaii is urging the Governor to release money under a new law that calls for improvements at hazardous intersections.

AARP volunteers say it's discouraging that three major crashes involving senior citizens have already occurred in the first two weeks of this year. But they're not giving up in trying to make Hawaii's roadways safer.

Lisa Ferentinos stands behind a large banner, and helps raise awareness about a dangerous crossing near her workplace.

"It's a very busy intersection without a light," she said. "And people drive very fast, way above the speed limit."

A car plowed into a 79-year-old man at that intersection on North School Street Monday. Investigators say the pedestrian, who's in critical condition, darted into the street in his rush to catch a bus.

"I'm very careful," Ferentinos said. "I try not to step out into the street until I'm absolutely certain that people are stopping."

The AARP distributes safety materials in hopes of educating pedestrians and drivers. One of the group's members, 63-year-old Gwyne Isa, continues her difficult recovery, after a car slammed into her in McCully two months ago.

"When you've broken multiple bones and had head trauma, there's no way your life can not be affected," Jackie Boland, AARP Hawaii, said.

The volunteers say they're waiting for the millions of dollars allocated in Act 10, a pedestrian safety law passed last year.

"We're going to keep pressing the Governor to release the money so that we can do more public education, and hopefully get some crosswalk enhancements at some of our really dangerous intersections," Boland said.

A spokesperson for Governor Lingle says the Governor has concerns about the money coming out of the state's highway fund, and that the state Department of Transportation has $18 million in pedestrian safety improvements, including crosswalk enhancements, in the works.