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City unveils second flashing beacon aimed at protecting pedestrians

KTVZ News Team

By ‘A’ali’i Dukelow

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    HONOLULU (KITV) — Transportation officials on Tuesday activated the city’s second rectangular rapid flashing beacon (RRFB) at the intersection of North King Street and Richard Lane in Kalihi.

RRFBs are lights attached to crosswalk signs that notify drivers a pedestrian is crossing. Nationally, the devices are reported to cut the number of crashes on roadways in half.

“That’s the math we like, that is safety that we can bank on. That makes it all worthwhile,” Department of Transportation Services (DTS) deputy director Jon Nouchi said.

DTS personnel added that the bustling Kalihi intersection is in dire need of the new light because of the high volume of both traffic and pedestrians, as well as the high number of pedestrian involved crashes there.

One pedestrian died from a crash in that intersection back in 2014.

“Recent studies have shown that four-lane roads like this in cities are not as safe, unless we provide some additional type of treatment,” DTS director Roger Morton said.

Ty Fukumitsu, of the DTS traffic signal division, said one RRFB costs about $367,000.

“I know it’s expensive, but you know, you can’t put a cost on a life. $367,000, if it saves one life, it’s worth it,” Fukumitsu added.

The city installed its first beacon in Kailua a few months ago.

“I do know that anecdotally, the neighborhood really loves that RRFB,” Nouchi said.

DTS personnel are planning to install more of the lights in other communities across the island.

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