Traffic camerasThe state's speed enforcement camera vans pulled their first overnight shift last night.
working all night
The camera patrol was prowling for
speeders overnight for the first time
By Nelson Daranciang
The change is part of the state Department of Transportation's effort to addresses criticisms and to refocus the Photo Speed Enforcement Program to critical areas and critical times based on the number of speed-related crashes and volume of traffic, said Brian Minaai, department director.
"There's been an existing community concern about aggressive speeders and those who race on our freeways particularly on weekend nights. If you recall, during the summer we lost two people in three months to horrific crashes due to excessive speeding and racing on the H-1 freeway," he said.
Also yesterday, the state made public the list of 78 locations on Oahu where it has authorized private contractor Affiliated Computer Services to set up the camera vans that nab speeding motorists.
The vans will no longer be allowed at what has been criticized as a speed trap on the Likelike Highway where Honolulu-bound vehicles emerge from the Wilson Tunnel.
Publicizing the list and adjusting the camera vans' hours and locations were responses to overwhelming public criticism of the new ticketing system. Critics have said the system was a moneymaking operation, while the state contends the idea is to promote safety by getting drivers to slow down.
"We appreciate all the concerns that have been shared with us by the public and lawmakers" and were used to evaluate and make changes to the pilot program "so it can be most effective in saving lives," Minaai said yesterday.
Department statistics show that 26 of 92 traffic fatalities on state roadways in 1998 to 2000 were speed-related. According to studies done by Karl Kim, University of Hawaii professor of urban and regional planning, most fatal car crashes occur during weekend late night and early morning hours, when the roads are clear.
"Fatal accidents are more likely to occur when there are higher speeds and alcohol. In general, those occur when congestion clears," Kim said.
The new overnight hours for the vans are from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. Previously, the vans were deployed from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Minaai said the department designates the location and times where the vans are to go every day but had not asked the vendor to deploy the vans overnight until now.
The department also named additional sites where vans will be deployed in the next two weeks, including freeways and school zones. Those sites were identified by department engineers. The law that established the program recommended the department consult county police in identifying highways where the cameras will be deployed.
"We didn't have input. They never asked," said Capt. Bryan Wauke of the Honolulu Police Department traffic division.
Many school zones are on city streets. Mayor Jeremy Harris has already told the state he does not want the vans on county roadways.
"We are hoping that they will work with us to ensure the safety of school kids in these critical school zones," Minaai said.
Minaai said the changes are an attempt to address the concerns expressed by the public and to try to dispel the belief that the program was designed to make money for the state and the vendor, Affiliated Computer Services, which gets a share of every ticket paid to the state.
Meanwhile, the department was hoping to have red-light enforcement cameras at the Pali Highway-Vineyard Boulevard intersection by the end of January. Minaai said the department's electrical engineers are still working out the details. He said there is no definite date when the red-light enforcement cameras will be turned on.
Hearing set on repeal of lawThe controversial traffic camera enforcement vans will be under the microscope again at the state Legislature with a hearing scheduled for next week on a bill to repeal the law that launched the program.
The Senate Transportation and Judiciary committees will hear the measure at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday in Room 229 of the state Capitol.
The move to repeal the photo enforcement law has bipartisan support. The camera issue heated up during the week with Gov. Ben Cayetano receiving a petition signed by 46 of 76 state lawmakers calling for the program to be halted.
TRAFFIC VAN LOCATIONS
CROSS STREET/VICINITY SPEED
Moanalua Freeway Ft. Shafter overpass 50 Waianae-bound Ala Aolani Street 50 Waianae-bound Ala Kapuna Street 50 Honolulu-bound Puuloa Road 50 Honolulu-bound Ft. Shafter overpass 50 Honolulu-bound Kalanianaole Highway Sandy Beach Road 45 Both directions Hawaii Kai Golf Course Access Road 45 Both directions Makapuu Lighthouse Road 35 Both directions Hanauma Bay Road 30 HB, 35 WB* Both directions Pali Highway Old Pali Road (2 locations) 45 Honolulu-bound Nuuanu Pali Drive (North access) 45 Honolulu-bound Homelani Place 35 Honolulu-bound Wyllie Street 35 Honolulu-bound Laimi Road or Ahi Place 35 Both directions Nuuanu Pali Drive (North access) 45 Kailua-bound (2 locations) Old Pali Road 45 Kailua-bound Likelike Highway Wilson Tunnels (Honolulu side) 45 Honolulu-bound Burmeister overpass (2 locations) 45 Honolulu-bound Gulick Avenue 35 Both directions Alu Street 35 Kaneohe-bound Burmeister overpass 45 Kaneohe-bound Nimitz Highway Kukahi Street 35 Waianae-bound Kamehameha Highway Waikane Valley Road 35 Both directions Haupoa Street 35 Both directions Johnson Road (2 locations) 35 Both directions Kaaawa Valley Road 35 Both directions Kaaawa Place 35 Both directions Lau Place 35 Both directions Trout Farm Road 35 Both directions Haleaha Road 35 Both directions Puhuli Street 35 Both directions Malaekahana State Park entrance 45 Both directions Kuilima Drive 35 Both directions H-1 freeway Kamehameha Highway (overpass) from Pearl Harbor 55 Waianae-bound Kamehameha Highway (overpass) 55 Waianae-bound Kaamilo Street (overpass) 55 Waianae-bound Farrington Highway (overpass) or H-2 freeway (overpass) 55 Waianae-bound Paiwa Street (underpass) 55 Waianae-bound Paiwa Street (underpass), Waikele Interchange 55 Waianae-bound Cane Haul Road (underpass) 55 Waianae-bound Kunia Road (underpass) 55 Waianae-bound Palehua Road (underpass) 55 Waianae-bound Makakilo Drive (overpass) (2 locations) 55 Waianae-bound Farrington Highway (overpass) 55 Waianae-bound Waiawa Road (overpass), Waiawa interchange 55 Wahiawa-bound Farrington Highway (overpass) 55 Honolulu-bound Makakilo Drive (overpass), Makakilo interchange 55 Honolulu-bound Makakilo Drive (overpass) 55 Honolulu-bound Palehua Road (underpass) (2 locations) 55 Honolulu-bound Paiwa Street (underpass), Paiwa interchange 55 Honolulu-bound Moanalua Road (underpass), Waiau interchange 55 Honolulu-bound Kaonohi Street (overpass) 55 Honolulu-bound Radford Drive (overpass) 55 Honolulu-bound Kamehameha Highway (overpass), Pearl Harbor interchange 55 Honolulu-bound H-2 freeway Panaikauahi Gulch 55 Wahiawa-bound Ka Uka Boulevard (overpass), Waipio interchange 55 Wahiawa-bound Pineapple Road (overpass) 55 Wahiawa-bound Leileihua Golf Course Road (overpass) Wahiawa interchange 55 Wahiawa-bound Leileihua Golf Course Road (overpass) Leileihua interchange 55 Pearl City-bound Leileihua Golf Course Road (overpass) 55 Pearl City-bound Waikalani Drive (underpass) 55 Pearl City-bound Meheula Parkway (overpass) 55 Pearl City-bound Kipapa Gulch bridge 55 Pearl City-bound Ka Uka Boulevard (overpass) (2 locations) 55 Pearl City-bound Ka Uka Boulevard (overpass), Waipio interchange 55 Pearl City-bound Panaikauahi Gulch culvert 55 Pearl City-bound Farrington Highway Jade Street 35 Makaha-bound Kaukamana Street 35 Both directions Hila Street 35 Both directions Kaukama Road 35 Both directions Kahau Street 35 Both directions
* HB-Honlulu bound WB-Waianae bound
Source: State Department of Transportation
The Associated Press contributed to this report.