New project is aimed at making the state’s no. 1 tourist destination more pedestrian-friendly

The state begins new pilot project to increase pedestrian safety in Waikiki.
Published: Oct. 23, 2022 at 6:12 PM HST|Updated: Oct. 23, 2022 at 6:23 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The state is kicking off a new pilot project to increase pedestrian safety in Waikiki.

Ala Moana Boulevard and Hobron Lane along with Ena and Kalia Road were turned into all-pedestrian crossings on Saturday.

That means there will be a period when all traffic signals are red so pedestrians can cross all at once.

Visitors and residents said it’s a step in the right direction.

“A lot less time for pedestrians to be out in the street so should be good,” said Stan James, of Waikiki. James and his wife, Jean, welcome the new crossing.

They’ve been living in Waikiki for more than a year and have seen too many close calls.

“Cars are coming from all over the place,” said Jean James. “I think it’s unsafe.”

“I had seen a couple of people be injured and hit out here by the by the confusion between motorists and pedestrians,” added Scott Goold, of Waikiki.

Goold petitioned for the improvements to be made, but says added markings are needed.

“You see people coming from the Modern to the ABC in the diagonal,” said Goold. “Well, there’s no real walk place for that.” Pedestrians have a little over 35 seconds to cross.

Some walked diagonally, which is not allowed and others walked against the red hand.

The pilot project will be evaluated to see how well it’s working in one month.

It’s just one of many improvements plans for Waikiki. Another plan calls for reduced parking along Ala Wai Boulevard and a two-way bike lane.

“But we need to realize this a neighborhood and 20,000 plus people live here, and most don’t drive a car,” said Jeffrey Merz, sub-chair of the Waikiki Neighborhood Board.

“We need to accommodate that and facilitate that.”

“We need safe places and it’s not safe,” agreed Goold. “We have city drivers mixed in with beach culture.”

The city’s final community meeting for the Ala Wai Complete the Streets Project will be held Wednesday at 6 p.m. on Zoom. To register for the meeting, click here.