Traffic-calming plans agitate some in Kahala
By Suzanne Roig
Advertiser East Honolulu Writer
KAHALA A group of residents is upset with plans to install traffic-calming devices in front of their homes, saying they were never notified of the proposal despite two community-wide meetings, monthly reports to the neighborhood board and an update in a community newsletter.
The residents have sent letters urging city officials to reconsider plans to build a raised intersection in front of Kahala Elementary School, saying it's a waste of taxpayer money and is "ill-advised."
"No one asked us about the situation," said Peter Fong, who with six other residents opposes the plan. "It's supposed to make it safer for the school, but it's all coned off and there are JPOs stationed on the corners during school hours."
"The meetings were well-attended and with lots of advance notice," responded Cheryl Soon, city Department of Transportation Services director.
The community has been working on the problem of traffic and speeding motorists for more than two years in an effort spearheaded by the Kahala Citizens Traffic Committee.
As a result, the city has spent $105,000 on steps including hiring a consultant that specializes in helping cities become more pedestrian friendly, creating an overall traffic-calming plan and drafting plans for specific traffic-calming devices.
In all, 12 projects are planned, but at the last meeting in April, the community met with the city and area council representatives to prioritize the top three: a median on Keala'olu Avenue mauka of Moho Street, a pedestrian crosswalk with a median at Pueo and Moa streets and a mini-roundabout on Moho and Makaiwa streets.
The raised intersection that the residents are objecting to is at least a year away, Soon said.
Fong and the others believe the proposed raised intersection will force people to turn around in homeowners' driveways rather than drive over the raised portion.
"It will be a big mess," Fong said. "The city's logic is all mixed up."
"We've had a lot of meetings over the past two years and everyone was notified," said Ken Stanford, a member of the Kahala Citizens Traffic Committee. "This plan for the raised intersection is for the kids so they're not in jeopardy.
"When you talk to the crossing guards, they say there have been numerous times when cars come screeching to a halt because they're not paying attention. These are our kids we're talking about."
Soon said the first three projects are going forward. Once designs are done, there will be hearings and permits to apply for and a contractor to select, Soon said.
As for Fong and the other residents who object to the raised intersection, city officials thanked them for their letter and indicated that this is a project the majority of the community wants, that there were numerous meetings on the subject and they would have to petition their City Council representative if they want to pursue their objections.
Reach Suzanne Roig at 395-8831 or firstname.lastname@example.org.