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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Saturday, January 26, 2002

Farrington safety fixes can't wait much longer

Many Wai'anae residents want the freedom to cross back and forth along Farrington Highway on foot. And who can blame them for opting for quick access between the mauka and makai sides of their neighborhood rather than trudging blocks to the nearest crossing?

But there are stretches of this four-lane Leeward Coast thoroughfare that are so perilous, a barrier is needed to separate traffic.

One such hot spot is Ma'ili Point, where a westbound Ford Contour crossed the center line near Hakimo Road recently, killing 34-year-old Melvin Kunukau Jr. and seriously injuring two others.

As Sen. Colleen Hanabusa, D-21st (Barbers Point, Makaha), points out, there's a good chance that Monday's head-on collision could have been prevented by a temporary traffic barrier. There are plans for a permanent landscaped median strip to divide traffic. But in the meantime, some sort of partition must be erected at dangerous spots.

Far too many people have lost their lives in traffic accidents along Farrington Highway.

Unfortunately, the tragedies are likely to continue until the government and the Wai'anae community resolve the issue of whether to treat this multi-purpose thoroughfare as a commuter highway or a neighborhood road. Something has to give to make Farrington Highway safer, soon.