Tuesday, November 22, 2011


Confirmed: Hawaii requires human sacrifice before installing traffic signals

A typical traffic signal is not appropriate for the crosswalk because it is close to the heavily traveled Castle Junction intersection at Pali and Kamehameha highways, and because the area in front of HPU did not meet the minimum requirement of five pedestrian "incidents" in a 12-month period—Department of Transportation spokesman Dan Meisenzahl

by Larry Geller

This is the first time that I have seen confirmation that a certain “body count” is needed by Hawaii’s state Department of Transportation before a traffic signal is installed. At legislative hearings or public meetings, when I have had a chance to ask, DOT representatives have denied it.

Is an “incident” like collateral damage from a US drone strike? Can it be true that injury or death is required before the state will act to protect pedestrians?

The pull-quote above is from a front-page story in today’s Honolulu Star-Advertiser describing the death of HPU student Mariah Danforth-Moore who was struck by a hit-and-run driver Sunday night in a crosswalk on Kamehameha Highway near HPU's Hawaii Loa campus.

According to the article,

…four other people have been hit there since 2005, state Department of Transportation spokesman Dan Meisenzahl said. None of the pedestrians before Danforth-Moore was killed, he said.

[Star-Advertiser, HPU student is killed in hit-run accident, 11/22/2011]
Here’s a description from the article of another “incident”:
HPU premed senior Maddi Ruhl, 21, was busy Monday organizing a sign-waving demonstration for 10 a.m. Nov. 29 at the crosswalk where Danforth-Moore was hit.

At about 10:25 p.m. on Feb. 24, 2009, Ruhl said she was blown out of her jacket, backpack and Converse sneakers when she was hit in the same crosswalk by a Kaneohe-bound hit-and-run driver.

The driver was never caught.

I can’t imagine how someone could not be seriously injured after being “blown out of her jacket, backpack and Converse sneakers.” There must be a solution for that intersection that will protect pedestrians as a priority. Add up all the “incidents” that must be counted before the DOT acts and it must present evidence of a massive failure to protect our citizens from harm by the department that is charged to do so.

Perhaps someone will “occupy” the DOT until they take the necessary action.

As to the “minimum requirement of five pedestrian "incidents" in a 12-month period,” I cannot find that number in any statute or administrative rule I have reviewed. Maybe I’ve missed something. This would be a suitable subject for a legislative inquiry.


My co-worker's mother was killed at a crosswalk in Waikiki several years ago. I read an article that said it was a particularly dangerous crosswalk, that other pedestrians had been hit, and that a light was needed.

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