Residents install flags for pedestrians crossing busy Kalanianaole Hwy.

kalanianaole-hwy-aina-haina-pedestrian-crosswalk-safety-flag

More than a year after a pedestrian was struck and killed in Aina Haina, safety flags are going up in the area.

Dr. Cynthia Soneda was hit by a car on June 19, 2015, while crossing Kalanianaole Highway. Her friends say she was in a marked crosswalk, but it didn’t have signals, so the community found a creative solution to help.

On Thursday afternoon, they installed flags that pedestrians can take and use when crossing the street.

“Cynthia’s an avid runner. She’d run and run early in the mornings and I’d see her at times because we’d bypass each other,” said Soneda’s friend and colleague, Dr. Vince Au, who added that after her death, “I just happened to hold a sign on the side of the road asking that we drive safely, and through all of that, wow, something good is happening.”

The intent is to make it easier for drivers to see someone while they’re in the roadway, but organizers say more still needs to be done.

“We don’t think this is really the answer, because it depends on the goodwill of the drivers to not be impaired, not be speeding, and not be distracted to even see this,” said Chad Taniguchi with Hawaii Bicycling League. “It helps, but the whole thing is we’ve got a million people on this island nearly. We’ve got a million cars on this island nearly, and if every driver speeds 10 times a year, that means we’ve got 10 million opportunities for crashes to happen.”

The Hawaii Department of Transportation allowed the flags to be placed at the crosswalk so long as community groups volunteer to maintain them.

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