Residents say removal of crosswalks makes busy street dangerous for pedestrians

 

Crosswalks have gone missing after a repaving project on Date Street.

The city says about 13,000 vehicles a day use Date Street, so the safest place for a pedestrian to cross is at an intersection with signal lights.

Those without signal lights, known as uncontrolled crosswalks, were taken out.

Clinton Bovee lives on Date Street and crosses the street to catch the bus. He thought crews forgot to restripe the crosswalk after repaving the road.

When we told him the city removed it, he said that makes it more dangerous.

“This whole street is filled with cars in the evening, all the way down. Every one of those people have to cross here,” he said.

Bovee says he can’t get to the nearest signalized crosswalk because he’s in a motorized wheelchair.

“I can’t go nowhere. There are no sidewalks. If they want to take the only crossing to the street away, then they should put in sidewalks so I can get to another crosswalk,” Bovee said.

The city says pedestrian can still legally cross Date Street where the crosswalk markings have been removed, but you need to yield to traffic.

“When people see the white lines, their eyes automatically behind the wheel say okay, that’s a crosswalk. (If there are) no more lines there, the drivers don’t notice it’s a crosswalk, so when people walk out into the street, they’ll hit them, because they think it’s jaywalking. It’s very unsafe,” Bovee said.

According to Mike Packard, the city’s Complete Streets administrator:

“The intent of Department of Transportation Services (DTS) Complete Streets program is to take the safety of all modes of transportation into account when designing our roadways, as well as the abilities of all users, whether they be pedestrians, people on bicycles or motorists.

“In accordance with the Department of Transportation Services Complete Streets guidelines, we studied all of the ‘uncontrolled’ marked crosswalks along Date Street in advance of the Date Street repaving project and final restriping effort to determine the appropriate placement of marked crosswalks.

“The study showed that with an average daily traffic volume of 13,000 vehicles per day and a posted speed limit of 35 mph, the safest place for pedestrians to cross is at the signalized intersections. Uncontrolled crosswalks along Date Street at Kamuela and Palani avenues have also been removed in accordance with the study’s recommendation.

“Pedestrians may still legally cross Date Street at the intersections where the crosswalk markings have been removed, but the Department of Transportation Services urges caution for those who do so. We will continue to work to improve Oahu’s pedestrian environment through design that encourages safe crossings and raises driver awareness of pedestrians and people on bicycles.”

The issue was discussed at the neighborhood board meeting Thursday night.

“The crosswalks need improvement if they are to stay, and the improvements would be traffic signals or an overpass,” explained George West, Kapahulu Neighborhood Board chair. “The city doesn’t have funding for that, so the city has removed the crosswalks. The advisory to the community is you can still cross at the corner, which is legal, albeit there is no crosswalk now so it’s a greater risk.”

Board members are also concerned.

“I think maybe someone from the city should come here to discuss it, since this is the second crosswalk that we are being taken away from because the city cannot afford to keep the crosswalks, and somebody who is disabled and can’t cross the street because of it. I don’t think it’s a good situation,” said board member Linda Wong.

“As we all know when they repave a street, the street traffic speed seems to increase, and since there are bus stops at some of these locations, not to mention the disabled, I think we should ask the city to reinstall this crosswalks,” said board member Ben Narita.

The neighborhood board will request that a city representative attend next month’s meeting to address residents’ concerns and consider the possibility of returning the crosswalks.

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