Pedestrian death underscores need for streetlights and sidewalks

Hawaii News Now - September 8, 2014
Jim Mendoza

Honolulu police said a 44-year-old homeless man was riding his wheelchair in a traffic lane on Enterprise Avenue in Kalaeloa Friday night when he was hit by an HPD patrol car driven by an officer transporting two teenagers to the Youth Challenge Academy.

Makakilo Neighborhood Board chairperson Evelyn Souza said the accident underscores how dark and dangerous Enterprise Avenue can be when the sun goes down.

"It's very precarious down there. Either you can't be seen or you don't see anybody else. Unfortunately, this gentleman was in a wheelchair. I would imagine the vantage point for the police officer was not at the very best," she said.

"Ever since the Navy gave up this property, there hasn't been any improvements out here at all. We haven't been keeping up with any of the utilities out here. We have no streetlights along here. There's no sidewalks," said Charles Patterson of property management company Cloudbreak Communities LLC.

State Sen. Mike Gabbard said lawmakers set aside $7 million dollars to improve the avenue with underground electrical lines, a pre-cursor to street lights and sidewalks.

"The money has been released by the governor, which is a good sign. So we're looking at the first quarter of 2015 to get the actual construction done," he said.

There are several homeless shelters and transitional homes around Enterprise Avenue, plus Youth Challenge is nearby and sports leagues use a field adjacent to the accident site.

"Everybody just needs to be more cautious," Souza said.

"A couple blocks from here there's two roads that intersect a major intersection," Patterson said. "You can't see the writing that says 'stop' on the road. And there are no stop signs there."

Patterson said eight years ago a man on a bicycle was hit by a car while he was riding on Enterprise Avenue. He died. The officer involved in Friday night's fatal accident is on administrative leave while HPD investigates.