Groups seek pedestrian safety solutions for Farrington Highway

Groups seek pedestrian safety solutions for Farrington Highway
Published: Jul. 19, 2016 at 10:03 PM HST|Updated: Jul. 19, 2016 at 10:16 PM HST
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WAIANAE, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A faded tee shirt bearing Robert Sadamaru's name is tied to a telephone pole on Farrington Highway. It's adjacent to the intersection where he was run over by a truck in May.

A few miles away a larger memorial mourns 19-year-old Kaulana Werner, who was also run down by a driver in April on the thoroughfare.

Six pedestrians have been killed on or along Farrington Highway this year.

"Six people in six months is way, way too many," said Chad Taniguchi, executive director of the Hawaii Bicycling League.

On Thursday, his organization will install brightly colored crossing flags at three Farrington Highway crosswalks that have no crossing lights. The hope is pedestrians will be more visible to drivers.

"People want to cross, grab it, wave it, see the drivers stop and then cross. Put it in the other side and the next person uses it," Taniguchi said.

Waianae resident Dustin Egami welcomed the security measure.

"I think it's a good idea because with the flag people will notice from far away and they will stop," he said.

Nanakuli resident Ali Kapoi also likes that the flags will have reflective tape that can be seen at night.

"A lot of places that don't have the lights, they're not so lit so a lot of cars that are traveling by can't see the pedestrian in the crosswalk," she said.

Since the slew of accidents, the community has called for wider road shoulders, better sidewalks, traffic calming measures and brighter street lights.

The most controversial idea involves using cameras to catch speeders and red light runners.

"I think it really would create a much higher sense of security. And I think a lot of people would think twice before they speed though these lights and break the law," said state Sen. Maile Shimabukuro, whose district includes Waianae and Nanakuli.

She said she'll talk to the state about the cameras.

Other attempts to introduce red light cameras have failed due to privacy concerns and fairness issues.

But Taniguchi believes red light cams would work on Farrington Highway if installed in the right places.

"What's more important, your privacy when you break the law or a life that could have been saved if nobody broke the law?" Taniguchi said.

He also wants to put in crossing flag stations at other dangerous crosswalks and involve businesses and community groups to replace them when they're damaged or stolen.

"We think there should be zero traffic fatalities," he added.

The Hawaii Bicycling League and various government agencies will meet for a "solutions meeting" at noon Thursday to put in the flags and discuss other safety options. The meeting will be held at the intersection of Farrington Highway and Hakimo Road.

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