Flashing lights, raised curbs among added pedestrian safety improvements in Waimanalo

Published: Nov. 5, 2017 at 10:07 PM HST|Updated: Nov. 6, 2017 at 9:40 AM HST
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(Image: Hawaii News Now)
(Image: Hawaii News Now)
(Image: Hawaii News Now)
(Image: Hawaii News Now)

WAIMANALO, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Waimanalo residents are noticing new rectangular rapid flashing beacons at some crosswalks along Kalanianaole Highway.

The state Department of Transportation said they were installed at the intersections of Nakini Street and Moole Street last month.

In addition, the DOT put up extra traffic signs, raised curbs and yellow and white poles along the busy stretch of road.

Some Waimanalo residents say they've been waiting a long time for the improvements.

"At least you can give the drivers one heads up when someone is crossing or whatever," said Tony Martin.

"Kupuna cross over there frequently since Kupuna housing is located near there, so I'm happy they finally listened to the community," said Waimanalo Neighborhood Board member Kukana Kama-Toth.

The east Oahu community has been plagued with a rising number of pedestrian-related accidents in recent years.

Between Kailua Road and Kealahou Street, the DOT reported 17 pedestrian-involved crashes from 2010 to 2014.

In Dec. 2016, a six-month-old baby was hit and killed by a speeding driver while crossing the street with his mom and brother near Wailea Street.

According to the DOT, an average of 15,000 vehicles travel along Kalanianaole Highway every day.

The safety improvements began in May.

While it's a welcome change for many, some fear the added measures may only distract drivers even more.

"There's a lot of distractions now, in my opinion, with all of these white poles alongside our roads and the yellow poles in the middle of our highway," said Kama-Toth. "You might have a hard time seeing people walk across the street even with those there. Our community is in limbo with a few of the things they chose to do for our roads, but for the most part DOT has been listening."

Transportation officials are also consolidating and moving bus stops near the beach park.

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