Pedestrian Crashes and Kupuna

by John Goody, Transportation Workgroup Chair

(Honolulu 10.15.17) For years, Hawaii has been among the nation’s worst for pedestrian crashes impacting the elderly. We are well above the national average in the proportion of motor vehicle fatalities that are pedestrians, and among those over twice the national proportion of pedestrian fatalities have been over age 65. These are horrible statistics for Hawaii’s elderly walking in our public rights of way. Over the past 5 years, Hawaii has averaged about 100 traffic fatalities annually, of which 25% were pedestrians. Nationally, 15% of motor vehicle fatalities are pedestrians. In Hawaii, predominantly Honolulu County, roughly 40% of pedestrian casualties were people aged 65 or above. Nationally, the proportion of elderly pedestrian fatalities averages 19%. Hawaii has been among the nation’s most dangerous places for elderly pedestrians.

To focus on improving the pedestrian environment, Age Friendly Honolulu is working on data driven solutions. Two initiatives are under way: one that collects statistical data from HPD crash reports to identify problem areas and behaviors, and another to allow pedestrians to report issues impacting the safety of pedestrian facilities like crosswalks, sidewalks and roadway shoulders or side paths. Reported problems will be used where appropriate in the upcoming pedestrian master plan, and also to inform needed maintenance actions. There will be more information in both of these arenas in coming months.

Meanwhile, there is some cause for optimism. Initial crash data for Honolulu in the first quarter of 2017 showed there were only 24 crashes and no fatalities to pedestrians 65 and older. Better yet, in the second quarter, there were no pedestrian crashes impacting people over 65. This is a huge improvement, and unprecedented in the past decade. The question is whether its simply random chance, and we will soon revert to the mean, or a positive response to the programs of state and county, such as Walk Wise Hawaii, Complete Streets, and HPD’s pedestrian safety efforts. Only time will tell, but our efforts to improve the walking environment for all ages will continue. Stay tuned.

Data sources: FARS (Fatality Analysis and Reporting System) and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) data.

Age-Friendly Honolulu at the Children and Youth Day

(Honolulu 10.1.17) Age-Friendly Honolulu (AFH) engaged kids at the Children and Youth Day on October 1, 2017 at the Hawaii State Capitol. AFH had an interactive booth that featured a virtual reality Minecraft experience. More than 120 visitors to the booth wore VR goggles and watched a video tour of a virtual, age-friendly Minecraft world. The virtual age-friendly world was created over several months by student delegates from the World Youth Congress and ‘Iolani School students. As part of this project, students were asked, “What would you do to make Honolulu’s Chinatown more age-friendly?”. Students conducted a walk audit of Chinatown and interacted with kupuna in the community. Then, students made age-friendly changes in Minecraft to a virtual replica of Honolulu’s Chinatown. Student ideas for a more age-friendly Chinatown included designing a community center, riverwalk, and public gardens.

The project was developed and coordinated by Christy Nishita, Ph.D., in partnership with Mr. Gabe Yanagihara from ‘Iolani School. Funding was provided by AARP. For more information on the project, please contact Christy Nishita at cnishita@hawaii.edu.

Age-Friendly Honolulu goes Intergenerational at World Youth Congress

(Honolulu 6.23.17) Age-Friendly Honolulu (AFH) hosted an afternoon workshop at the World Youth Congress, a week-long event sponsored by Peace Child International in partnership with Polynesian Voyaging Society. The event brought together nearly 300 local and international youth leaders to gather and identify actions to support achievement of the United Nations 2015 Sustainability Goals. Areas of focus included: policy, health, environment, healthy communities, and aging.

Delegates paired with Lanakila Senior Center members and Plaza Assisted Living Residents in Waikiki to analyze the River Street area of Chinatown and use photos, stories, and Minecraft to envision a more age-friendly neighborhoodDelegates paired with Lanakila Senior Center members and Plaza Assisted Living Residents in Waikiki to analyze the River Street area of Chinatown and use photos, stories, and Minecraft to envision a more age-friendly neighborhood.

World Youth Congress delegates, Lanakila Senior Center Members, Christy Nishita (AFH Consultant), and Gabe Yanagihara (Iolani Minecraft teacher) at the Age-Friendly City workshop.World Youth Congress delegates, Lanakila Senior Center Members, Christy Nishita (AFH Consultant), and Gabe Yanagihara (Iolani Minecraft teacher) at the Age-Friendly City workshop. Half of the delegates went to Iolani School for an intergenerational activity led by Christy and Gabe, where delegates and Lanakila Senior Center members discussed age-friendly ideas and used Minecraft to build a virtual, age-friendly Chinatown.

World Youth Congress delegates, Plaza Assisted Living Waikiki residents, Mike Packard (Complete Streets Administrator), and Frank Streed (AFH Co-Chair) at the Age-Friendly City workshop.World Youth Congress delegates, Plaza Assisted Living Waikiki residents, Mike Packard (Complete Streets Administrator), and Frank Streed (AFH Co-Chair) at the Age-Friendly City workshop. Frank and Mike facilitated an activity at Plaza Assisted Living Waikiki in which delegates and residents and used photos and stories to develop age-friendly ideas for the Chinatown area.

Intergenerational teams plan age-friendly changes to Chinatown area.Intergenerational teams plan age-friendly changes to Chinatown area.

Age-Friendly Honolulu at the Senior Summit

(Honolulu 6.22.17) The City and County of Honolulu, in cooperation with Kaiser Permanente Hawaii and Age-Friendly Honolulu, hosted an all-day Senior Summit event at the Neal S. Blaisdell Center.

The Senior Summit convened 300 professionals in the field of aging, older adults and their caregivers, to learn and experience a new approach in developing innovative solutions. The Senior Summit convened 300 professionals in the field of aging, older adults and their caregivers, to learn and experience a new approach in developing innovative solutions.

attendees were challenged to tackle key issues affecting the quality of life of older adults and to develop prototypes of their ideas. As an outcome of the event, attendees were challenged to tackle key issues affecting the quality of life of older adults and to develop prototypes of their ideas.

The City’s Elderly Affairs Division will be conducting post-Summit meetings to continue the dialogue with interested attendees and other stakeholders. For more information, contact the Elderly Affairs Division at elderlyaffairs@honolulu.gov.

Mayor Caldwell recognizes AARP for helping Honolulu join the Network of Age-Friendly Cities

(Honolulu 5.6.17) In the keynote address opening the Hawaii Book & Music Festival, AARP CEO Jo Ann Jenkins, author of the best-selling book “Disrupt Aging,” challenged Hawaii residents to smash stereotypes about aging and rethink the idea of getting old.

Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell presented Jenkins with a proclamation declaring Saturday as AARP Day in Honolulu.Before the speech, Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell presented Jenkins with a proclamation declaring Saturday as AARP Day in Honolulu. The mayor recognized AARP for partnering with the city and the World Health Organization to help Honolulu join the Network of Age-Friendly Cities and Communities Program and for helping to develop a comprehensive action plan for improving the quality of life for residents. The proclamation also recognized how Jenkins’ book has started a movement to change the conversation about what it means to get older.

AARP CEO discusses Disrupting Aging“I wrote the book Disrupt Aging to change the conversation in this country about what it means to grow older. It’s not about aging, it’s about living. And I want to give people the opportunity to embrace aging as something to look forward to, not fear. To see this as a period of growth, not decline and to recognize the opportunities, not just the challenges and perhaps most importantly to see themselves as contributors, not burdens,” Jenkins said.

Over 300 in attendance“I believe we can create a society where all people can grow older knowing that they have access to the care, information and services they need to lead healthier lives with independence and dignity; and where they have the financial resources and opportunities to match their longer life expectancy; and that they are seen as an integral and inspirational asset to society. . . . When we disrupt aging and embrace it as something to look forward to instead of something to fear, we can begin to discover the real possibilities for becoming the person that we’ve always wanted to be and build a society where all people have the value to be who they want to be, not judged by how old they are.”

To see the full speech, go to AARP Hawaii’s Facebook page

Age-Friendly Honolulu Featured at Hawaii Public Health Association Event

(Honolulu 4.6.17) Age-Friendly Honolulu hosted a roundtable at an event held by the Hawaii Public Health Association.  The event was held at the UH Cancer Center’s Sullivan Conference Center, and contributed to the celebration of National Public Health Week with the night’s theme being “Healthiest Nation 2030: What Do You Bring To The Table?”

Attendees visited different roundtables throughout the evening, each featuring speakers covering the following public health topics: age-friendly communities, drug policy, Medicaid and Medicare, developments in our built environment including Blue Zones and Bikeshare, and dietary patterns and cancer risk.  The theme of Age-Friendly Honolulu’s roundtable was “An Intergenerational Approach to Age-Friendly Communities”.

HPHA Event

The event was attended by more than 80 public health professionals in the government, private sector, and academia. It was a wonderful opportunity to bring greater visibility to Age-Friendly Honolulu.

Dr. Christy Nishita (far right), consultant to Age-Friendly Honolulu, represented the initiative as well as two students from ‘Iolani School. Both high school juniors have projects that impact the Age-Friendly Honolulu Initiative. Bryson Choy is working with Colby Takeda from the Plaza Assisted Living on a project called “Honolulu Walks”, an intergenerational photovoice project that is analyzing walkability in Honolulu communities. Marley Dyer’s project, promoting transportation alternatives and piloting the GoGo Grandparent service, which allows older adults to access rides through Uber and Lyft using a touch tone phone. The Age-Friendly Honolulu transportation workgroup is in conversation with GoGo Grandparent and analyzing how other cities like Los Angeles, are subsidizing rides for older adults.

AFH participates in Complete Streets Symposium

(Honolulu 3.15.17) Age-Friendly Honolulu was an active participant at the Downtown/Chinatown Community Symposium and Complete Streets Exposition sponsored by the City’s Department of Transportation Services at the Laniakea YWCA on March 15th.   Enhancing pedestrian safety and improving mobility are key elements of Honolulu’s Age-Friendly City Action Plan, and supporting the City’s Complete Streets Program is one way to help achieve those goals.

Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell and AARP-Hawaii Executive Director Barbara Kim-Stanton show their support for Age-Friendly Honolulu and Honolulu Complete Streets.
Age-Friendly Honolulu Implementation Committee members share information on the many goals of Age-Friendly Honolulu, with a particular focus that night on transportation and pedestrian safety