Aloha added to some Oahu crosswalks

By Paul Drewes
Published On: Feb 04 2014 08:14:00 PM HST

The lines have been blurred when it comes to several Oahu crosswalks. KITV4'S Paul Drewes gives us a closer look.

HONOLULU -

A little aloha, or an act of vandalism? The lines have been blurred when it comes to several Oahu crosswalks.

Click here to watch Paul Drewes' story.

Hawaii Kai resident George Hiu goes on a walk every morning along Lunalilo Home Road. Lately, when he crosses Kalanipuu Street, he does so with a little aloha.

Paint lines have been added, by an unknown person, to the strips of the crosswalk to spell out "aloha."

"It doesn't detract from the old lines, so I think its good," said Hiu.

Neighbors said they first spotted the change on their street around Christmas.

"We started seeing people disrupting traffic, standing in the middle of the street and we thought it was Japanese tourists getting creative. Then we took a closer look and saw someone had gotten creative with our crosswalk," said Hawaii Kai resident Ken Middleton.

It has happened in places other than Hawaii Kai. Pictures of other "aloha" crosswalks have appeared on social media.

Residents said they like the change which attracts drivers attention to the pedestrian crossings.

"Slow down and enjoy a little aloha. I'd hate to see the city proclaim it is against the law, whether its graffiti or whatever, I think it's a nice thing," said Middleton.

The city director of facility maintenance Ross Sasamura said the "aloha" crosswalks are against the law, "The issue really is one of vandalism."

The problem is not just about how crosswalks looks, it is mainly about safety.

"Crosswalk markings are a national standard. Any deviation from that standard creates the potential for drivers not recognizing it is a crosswalk," said Sasamura.

So the city will soon be saying aloha to the "aloha" crosswalks, but just getting rid of the additional lettering could prove costly.

"We can't just remove the paint with chemicals because it's an environmental hazard. We're going to have go in and remove it by grinding or with a wire brush, and that will take away from the surface of the street that was recently redone," stated Sasamura.

The city plans to fix the crosswalks immediately after the weather clears up, citing safety as the reason to rush the work.

Even though all of our crosswalks have to conform to national standards, they don't. Older ones are still smaller and thinner, but Sasamura said as those roads are repaved the crosswalks will be upgraded as well.

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