Sunday, January 17, 2010

3 ‘Crosswalk Pedestrian’ Deaths Already in 2010; AIA Still Pushes for At-Grade Train in Chinatown

Chinatown's Hotel Street -- on the AIA's proposed rail route
It’s one thing (and mildly humorous) when architects object to the Honolulu rail system’s 30-foot tall elevated guideway while seemingly ignoring the impact of architect-designed 300-foot high-rises that have walled off the ocean from many Honolulu neighborhoods.

But it’s far more serious when they ignore the safety issue and promote an at-grade transit system for narrow city streets through congested Chinatown and other neighborhoods.

After you finish reading today’s post, continue with Friday’s description of at-grade’s drawbacks immediately below. Notice in the graphic how close the tracks are to the sidewalks on Hotel Street, where the AIA implausibly wants its trains to run. Then consider this:

Hawaii leads the nation in elderly pedestrian fatalities, with a rate of 6.97 deaths per 100,000 people 65 years and older. Nationally, the rate is 2.33 pedestrian deaths per 100,000.

Honolulu drivers are killing pedestrians alarmingly often:
Jan. 7 – Sachiko Kojima, 52, was in a crosswalk while crossing Kaiolu Street in Waikiki when a car turned left from Kuhio Avenue and hit her. She died the next day.
Jan. 12 – Hideno T. Matsumoto, 81, died after being struck while in a crosswalk on Pali Highway near Dowsett Avenue.
Jan. 14 – Yui Tung Ng, 73, was hit by a car while in a crosswalk on North Vineyard Boulevard at Aala Street near Chinatown. He died one day later.

Anyone who’s spent time in Honolulu’s Chinatown knows it's a neighborhood with a high percentage of elderly who either live there or frequent its narrow streets on daily shopping trips. Introducing at-grade trains into this congested and constricted part of town is unthinkable.

Honolulu already has an ignominious reputation for showing too little concern for pedestrian safety. Let’s not add to that disgrace by putting aesthetics above safety as we build our rail infrastructure.
Hotel Street visitors await parade's start

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