Hawaii Kai residents are upset over the removal of crosswalks

Hawaii Kai residents are upset over the removal of crosswalks
City crews remove a crosswalk at the intersection of Lunalilo Home Road and Kalanipuu Street in Hawaii Kai (Source: Judy Sobin)

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Some residents in East Oahu are upset that two crosswalks on a busy street are now gone.

The city says it's to protect pedestrians, but critics say that's ridiculous.

"I can't fathom why they did that. It's just gonna encourage them to cross there anyway,” said Hawaii Kai resident Ralf Oide. “It'll make it dangerous for them."

City workers removed two crosswalks at the intersection of Lunalilo Home Road and Kalanipuu Street in Hawaii Kai a few weeks ago.

Since then, the area’s state representative has sent a letter to the mayor.

“Mayor Caldwell, cease and desist taking away Hawaii Kai’s crosswalks. Please,” said Rep. Gene Ward.

The city said their studies show that high-volume and multi-lane streets pose a greater risk to pedestrians when crossing within marked crosswalks.

On Wednesday, a man and his dog were hit while trying to cross Hawaii Kai Drive and Kalalea Street around 6:30 p.m.

The 42-year-old man, who was in a marked crosswalk, was rushed to the hospital in serious condition.

His dog Appa died.

Witnesses said the 17-year-old driver ran a red light.

'We're heading into the worst month of the year,” said Maj. Calvin Tong with HPD’s Traffic Division. “The holidays. People are in a rush to get to where they want to get. They're trying to save five minutes. But trying to save that five minutes of their time is going to give them a lifetime of regrets if they hurt somebody."

The city also said on some multi-lane and high-volume streets, the only effective improvement is installing traffic signals for pedestrian crossings.

Ward believes the city is cutting corners.

“I think it’s to save money and not to save the safety of the pedestrians. I’m really upset with that,” he said.

HPD says there have been 47 traffic fatalities so far this year, 19 of those were pedestrians and 16 of those pedestrians were not in crosswalks.

The first pedestrian fatality of 2019 was in Hawaii Kai just 50 yards away from where a crosswalk was removed a year earlier.

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