Saturday | July 23, 2016
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Letters 4-27-13

Road widening

More questions on the proposal

Concerning residents questioning ahighway widening proposal that ran in West Hawaii Today on April 21 — more should question the highway widening proposal.

Eighty percent of the cost of this project would be federally funded. The Federal SAFETEA (Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient and Transportation Equity Act) allows project formulators to be more responsive to the needs of the community. That provides the opportunity for people to ask for more inclusionary considerations.

The stated project purpose is to continue the widening of Kuakini Highway from Hualalai Road to Walua Road. The defined problem is traffic congestion, and the purported solution is the Kuakini Highway Phase 2 widening.

The Kuakini Highway widening projects were formulated to improve continuous traffic flow and circulation, thus improving traffic movement in and out of Kailua Village. Phase 1 widening has not improved traffic circulation or traffic flow through Kailua town and vicinity. The phase 2 widening proposal is also problematic. Improved traffic circulation in the vicinity of the project is doubtful unless existing connector streets are also improved. The shortage of adequate parking spaces could aggravate traffic flow.

This proposed course of action is massive roadbed and pavement on a fixed alignment primarily to serve cars. The proposal completely ignores intermodal movement in the village that affects circulation. It also ignores the opportunity to include transportation equity in road projects. The enhancement opportunity is to move people in the village efficiently and safely. Alii Drive between Palani and Walua roads could be made primarily for pedestrian use.

Car circulation can be improved by extending Nani Kailua Street to Kuakini Highway. Existing passageways can be improved or modified to improve movement of cars or people. Kailua Village can be transformed into a friendly neighborhood of vehicle circulation and pedestrian movement.

There is the opportunity to reformulate the enhancement of Kuakini Highway to transform Kailua Village with a road network that optimizes traffic circulation and offers improved quality of life for residents and visitors alike.

Harold Murata