Rooted in Reason: Nurturing the Seeds of Liberty

Sometimes looking both ways isn’t enough. by grassroothawaii
May 19, 2010, 1:52 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

By Frances Nuar

Have you ever noticed how sporadically the crosswalks on this island are placed? I’m not referring so much to the crosswalks which are at stoplights that carefully guide you with a lighted walking person for “Go” and a red hand for “Stop”. I’m referring more to the random, placed where they will crosswalks not anywhere near a light, often with only a small street sign to mark them by if anything, and most definitely very difficult to see, especially at night.

If you are a driver, you will have noticed they seem to jump out of nowhere, often every 20 meters. All of the sudden, you are driving, and wham, someone is there in the middle of the street, you brake as quickly as possible, and disaster is averted. If you are a pedestrian, you know the importance of looking both ways, looking both ways again, and then still making eye contact with all drivers as you walk across the street in a crosswalk. It’s a dangerous world out there.

But why, why does it have to be such a dangerous world? Why do sweet old ladies have to die while crossing Pali?  Hawaii News Now reports that “ten pedestrians died on Oahu’s roads in 2009, compared to 14 in 2008 and 20 back in 2007.” But this isn’t counting the countless individuals who were injured and hospitalized after being hit, but thankfully made it through.

How can the roads be made safer for pedestrians and drivers alike? One solution could be to provide lighting for the crosswalks, but given the budget crisis the State is feeling, may not be feasible for the time being. A much simpler and cheaper solution would be for the irregularly placed crosswalks to be eliminated, with crosswalks only at traffic lights or similarly “safer” zones. The mid-block crosswalks give pedestrians a false sense of security, according to reports by the Transportation Research Board.  And safety should be key.


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