Speeders, slow down before someone’s hurt
Well, school is back in session and those of us who live in Holualoa can tell simply by the vast increase in mothers with children flying through town as if their lives depended on it. Posted speed limit 25 mph? Forget it. Reduced to 15 mph through town and the crosswalks? Are you kidding? These posted speed limits are meaningless as is the flashing radar sign telling these drivers they are not only taking their lives in their hands — well hand anyway, as the other hand usually holds a phone or cup of coffee — as they blast through town at 35 to 40 mph and around the blind turn at Paul’s Place. God forbid someone is backing out of the post office or crossing in the crosswalk.
In all fairness, there are also quite a number of workers wishing to avoid the traffic on the Queen Kaahumanu Highway so they find it much easier to speed through Holualoa’s unpatrolled corridor. The mothers only come through before and after school. We’ve only had a couple of older Japanese ladies run down and killed by out of control drivers, only had four of our personal cars sideswiped in the last few years, but hey, the police are giving tickets on the safest highway in the state, Saddle Road. Who cares about a winding little road up mauka?
In all fairness to the police, once, about 20 years ago, we managed to petition one officer to set up his radar near the school one morning. He later told my wife he gave out more tickets than he ever had in such a short time. Too bad one was to a judge’s wife, another to an attorney’s wife, and the traffic captain told him not to come back up to Holualoa. Such is life.
Last year, a rookie officer was kind enough to talk to my wife in front of her business one day and she related our speeding problems to him. And, to his credit, the next day he showed up around 9 a.m. — after school is in session when speeding returns to its normal pace — and he immediately began bagging speeders. Here he is with his lights flashing, parked on the side of the road, trying to write tickets and the speeders are flying past him at 35 mph in a 15 mph zone next to the school. It really was somewhat hilarious to see a professional police officer screaming at speeders as they blew by him with cellphones in hand.
Yes, we’ve had our meetings with the mayors through the years. In fact, Mayor Billy Kenoi allowed the county to paint zigzag lines along the shoulders and install the radar signs, which apparently are telling speeders to speed up. I see plenty of subdivisions with fewer speeding problems than we have and they have been allowed to have traffic slowing devices installed. When do we get ours? Do we need more than two deaths? I’m sure we’ll get a couple more bodies added to the quota once the road widening starts out to the airport. That’s when the traffic will divert en masse up Kaiminani and race through Holualoa like it did the last time the road was widened on Queen Kaahumanu Highway. I guess traffic enforcement is a selective thing. If it was simply about filling quotas then every officer in Kona could bag his limit one day a month in Holualoa.