Pedestrian safety measures implemented at Koloa School

KOLOA, HAWAII – Over the past couple of months, several pedestrian safety measures have been implemented in the vicinity of Koloa Elementary School, which has resulted in a dramatic increase of area residents walking to school or to the nearby bus stop.
Haunani Ka`imina`auao, who was recently hired as a school crossing guard for Koloa School, reports that in the short time she?s been on the job, she has seen the number of children using the crosswalk go from three to 13.
“It fills my heart to know that our children, parents and members of the community are once again feeling safe to walk to school and the bus stop in front of the school,” said Ka`imina`auao.
Koloa Elementary School CrossingEarlier this week, 16 orange traffic cones were placed at the school crosswalk for more visibility.
Last month, a speed trailer was installed in front of Koloa School, and the Kaua'i Police Department has issued warnings and/or traffic citations to speeding motorists.
Debbie Lindsey, principal of Koloa School, said that bicycle ridership in the area has tripled and more parents are walking and biking with their children since the recent pedestrian safety measures were implemented.
In addition, Lindsey noted that more adults are walking to the bus stop in front of the school to catch The Kaua'i Bus.
“Since our efforts began last May, so much has been done to ensure the safety of our school community,” said Lindsey, acknowledging KPD and the Department of Public Works for their roles.
Interest in the pedestrian safety portion of the Koloa/Po'ipu Area Circulation Plan was re-ignited following a K?loa Community Association meeting in May when Mayor Bernard Carvalho, Jr. had a discussion with an informal committee of K?loa residents, educators and parents.
Chaired by Teddy Blake, the committee volunteered to lead the community effort and partner with the County in expediting the K?loa pedestrian safety project.
“We appreciate the committee taking the initiative to work alongside the County on this pedestrian safety project,” said the mayor. “When citizens take a pro-active role in what?s happening in their community, it helps us to get the job done faster.”
The committee researched the various options available for low-cost, short-term improvements to two crosswalks fronting Koloa Elementary School and one at the intersection of Koloa and Maluhia roads.
Blake arranged for a company representative to do a presentation on an enhanced crosswalk system that?s designed to alert approaching motorists to the presence of a pedestrian at a crosswalk through the use of in-pavement signal lights that are activated by the pedestrian.
“The information the committee found through its research will help us as we prepare a request for proposals to design and build an enhanced crosswalk system for three crosswalks in Koloa Town,” said County Engineer Donald Fujimoto. “Our goal is start this project before the end of the year.”
The Koloa/Po'ipu Circulation Plan was developed in 2007 to address traffic flow concerns, mitigate traffic impacts of new development in the area, and create a more balanced transportation system that includes all travel modes on the south shore.
The plan involved a collaborative effort between the Koloa Community Association, a consortium of developers, the County of Kaua'i and other interested stakeholders including the Po'ipu Beach Resort Association.
In fiscal year 2009, the County Council appropriated $300,000 for short-term improvements recommended in the circulation plan, including pedestrian safety projects.