Are Oahu's crosswalk buttons working?

Why some fail to signal when pressed

Published  9:09 PM HST Aug 05, 2013
Crosswalk
HONOLULU -

Are Oahu's crosswalk buttons useless in some high traffic areas?
Push the button and nothing happens.

The city's Department of Transportation Services has known about this for years. In fact, the city is responsible for the change.

Thousands of pedestrians walk alongside our busy streets every day.

"In a place like Honolulu, especially the urban areas, pedestrians are a large part of our movement. For many people, that's their primary way of getting around," said Mark Garrity, the Deputy Director of the Department of Transportation Services.

Rush hour is spent rushing across roads or waiting for the light to change.
So for many, pushing the walk button has become automatic whenever they get to an intersection.

"Every time someone has to hit the button. If you're late and there is no one on the other side to hit the button the walk light doesn't turn on," said Kaneohe resident Christina Ramosaea.

Honolulu resident Walter Chun has also spent his time waiting at the corner.

"I've waited as long as a minute and a half sometimes for the light to change. You have to be patient," said Chun.

What about those who repeatedly push the walk button, does that make a difference?

"No, it really doesn't help at all," added Chun.

In some areas, pedestrians don't even need to push the walk button once.

"At busier intersections the walk signal will come on automatically. So whether or not the person pushes the button, it will actually turn on with the next cycle," stated Garrity.

The city switched to automatic signals in parts of downtown Honolulu and Waikiki.
Even though they made the switch years ago, many pedestrians still push the walk button repeatedly.

"Usually when you get to the corner you go pop-pop-pop, right?" asked Big Island resident Steve Nakamura.

Even finding out the crosswalk signals are automatically synced may not put an end to the button-pushing.
Some say, they'll press on. Just because it sure seems to speed things up.

"Oh yeah, give it one tap," said Nakamura with a laugh.

The city doesn't switch from automatic mode during rush hours to manual mode at night. It keeps those usually busy pedestrian areas synced 24 hours a day.

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