A pedestrian countdown timer in Downtown Honolulu was working flawlessly on Monday. That wasn’t the case on Sunday.
The lights are equipped with a computerized timer.
“Anywhere there’s a countdown timer, there’s the potential for the module that controls the timing to fail. And if and when it does and a pedestrian sees it, they should give us a call,” said Mike Formby, director of the Department of Transportation Services.
Formby is the first to admit that the timers break down from time to time.
“I was in Chinatown a week-and-a-half-ago and I noticed that on one side of the street, it went from 10 to zero and on the other side it went from 26 to 16 and then to zero, so that was confusing. We sent the technicians out and they fixed that,” Formby said.
We were curious how much time pedestrians gave themselves to get safely across Hotel Street.
“Obviously, it depends on the width of the street. But this one right here? Six,” said John Aube.
There’s a reason most pedestrians wait for the countdown timer to begin.
“Last year, they were ticketing people here for jaywalking a lot more than any other place Downtown. So I think a lot more people stop and don’t jaywalk here,” said Steve Tom.
The timers cost $235 each when they have to be replaced, not counting labor.
“There’s 880 signalized intersections in the county. We get about one call a week for the pedestrian countdown not being accurate,” Formby said.
One pedestrian said he would not cross the intersection after six seconds. Younger pedestrians may not take as long.
“This one you probably need about five seconds to cross,” Tom said.
“You want to race?” KHON2 asked.
“No, that’s fine,” Tom said.