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SKTSC shares Community Priorities Survey results: Need for alternative routes, bypass top the list

Updated: 
August 11, 2017 - 8:06am

WAIMEA — There are few towns or regions in the U.S. where more than 56 percent of residents tallied say they spend less than 15 minutes in traffic on any given day.

South Kohala is the exception.

This was the response from the majority of full- and part-time residents who completed South Kohala Traffic Safety Committee’s Community Priority Survey over the past three months. SKTSC Chairman James Hustace shared results at the monthly public meeting Tuesday.

More than 350 people in South Kohala responded to the survey. Results were divided among Waikoloa Village, Waimea and Puako/Kawaihae/Resort Area in South Kohala.

“We did the survey to connect with different communities and community groups, and to grow our understanding of community needs and wishes,” Hustace said in the presentation. “We focus on new and old projects, and also want to generate ideas for big and small projects, and share data with elected officials and state and county employees.”

The highest number of responses came from residents in Waikoloa Village, followed by Waimea. Sixty percent of the surveys were completed by people who drive daily, and more than 46 percent drive between 30 minutes and an hour each day. Nearly all of the responses came from those who drive their own vehicle, although public transport, carpooling, biking and walking were also modes of transportation for a smaller percentage.

Of the 356 responses, nearly 40 percent said they are moderately satisfied with the condition of roads in South Kohala. The top five concerns involved alternate routes and bypasses — cited by 203 of the residents — followed by a need for intersection improvements, sidewalks, bike lanes and safety measures.

Other priorities listed were the need for more trails — noted by more than 100 residents — merge/center turn lanes, bridge work, bus stops or bus routes, crosswalks, better signage and more adequate public parking, noted by 52 residents.

“Across the board, recurring concerns from residents were about the Waimea/Kawaihae Road bypass, Queen Highway/Kawaihae Road intersection, maintenance of roads, repair and resurfacing, and designated bike lanes, sidewalks or trails to impact pedestrian safety,” Hustace said.

Lower on the list were a need for traffic circulation studies; light signal optimization, Waiaka bridge repair or replacement, the enforcement of traffic laws, signalization or the addition of a roundabout at Paniolo Avenue intersection and emergency roads.

Beginning in May, Hustace presented an overview of the survey to hundreds of residents at Waimea Community Association, Waikoloa Lion’s Club, Puako Board and Waimea Senior Center meetings.

The survey’s overall purpose was to determine which issues are top-of-mind with South Kohala residents. The percentage of concerns varied from town to town.

As a next step, Hustace said he plans to send the results to District 9 County Councilman Tim Richards and state Rep. Cindy Evans, as well as the County of Hawaii Department of Public Works and the state Department of Transportation.

“We will do it again every other year and hope to get closer to 500 responses next time,” he said.

SKTSC is an independent sub tier organization of both the State Highway Safety Council and the County Highway Safety Council. Its purpose is to be informed of matters relating to traffic safety within the district of South Kohala; acting only in an advisory role. The committee establishes a forum for the public, state and county officials, and businesses to discuss traffic safety matters.

The meeting is held from 4-5 p.m. the second Tuesday of each month at Waimea Civic Center’s conference room, adjacent to the Waimea Police Station. All are welcome to attend.

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