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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Saturday, March 25, 2006

Traffic logjam bill won't solve anything

Everyone knows O'ahu freeways can become an unbearable mess when accident investigations close off lanes or entire viaducts. But there's not much point in passing a bill that won't advance us on the road to a solution.

That's the situation the Legislature has created with House Bill 2655, which would create a high-tech investigator team that could finish its work and allow traffic flow to resume much more quickly.

But police officials have raised their hands to point out a pesky fact: They have these gadgets and use this technology now.

They'd appreciate the money, of course, but not if it means spending it on something they already have.

Traffic investigators have suggested expanding and better coordinating various means of detouring traffic away from accidents when that's even possible, given our limited web of roads. This means working more closely with highway crews so that signs warning drivers about a crash can be placed readily and lanes can be coned sooner.

It means police officers assigned more promptly to direct traffic, and better use of media to warn drivers off.

Establishing a dedicated "traffic channel" that commuters can tune in to before committing to a particular route might help, too.

What won't help is throwing money at the problem. And as tempting as it is to imagine there's a magic bullet for this issue, that's all this bill would accomplish.