Sunday, July 29, 2001

Speed bumps installed here along Keaolani Street
near Meheula Parkway in Mililani were
part of efforts to calm traffic.

Cold feet won't
stop Mililani
traffic work

The city says the traffic
construction must proceed,
despite any change of heart

By Kelliann Shimote

The city says it's too late to stop construction of traffic calming devices on Kipapa Drive even though the Mililani Neighborhood Board is now opposed to the project.

Department of Transportation Director Cheryl Soon says a contractor has already been hired for the $192,000 project near Mililani High School and Kipapa Elementary School and they are negotiating a starting date.

"We need to go forward. It's all ready to go," Soon said. "(Canceling the contract is) not even in the realm of consideration." Soon said the project has been in the planning stages for two years and she had yet to hear from the board about its objections as of last week.

The Neighborhood Board originally supported the project, which consists of a speed table with a median, an island and bulbouts near Mililani High School. Another speed table with a median, an island and bulbouts are to be constructed near Kipapa Elementary School.

The speed table is 10 feet wide and connects adjacent sidewalks with a raised platform and a crosswalk in the middle. Bulbouts extend the existing sidewalk to narrow the street forcing drivers to slow down.


"The big fear (of traffic calming measures) is some kid is going to come with his jalopy and fly in the air," said Neighborhood Board Chairman Richard Poirier. "If they are speeding, and they hit a speed bump it is something else and you start endangering the people in the car."

According to Poirier, motorists have a difficult time speeding because of the parked cars along Kipapa Drive.

"What is the point of putting speed bumps if you have a hard time getting in and out?" Poirier questioned.

He added that there are places along Kipapa Drive where motorists do speed, "but in front of the (Kipapa Elementary) school, I don't see a problem."

Neighborhood Board Transportation Committee Chairman Doug Thomas says a second look by board members convinced most that the speed measures were unnecessary.

"Originally, we looked at the project and thought it (the measures) might be useful, then looked at the situation again and ... decided we really didn't need what was decided for after all," he said.

He said there were other areas on Oahu where boards regretted the decision.

"So we decided to go slow on our approach (and) make sure what we say we want is what we really want," said Thomas. "Once you put them in, it takes a lot of money to remove them."

Some board members disagreed with the move to withdraw support of the project.

"The reason I object to the resolution was that the community had not been given a chance to discuss the resolution," said board member Michelle Kidani.

Board member Bill Brizee added, "I think it goes beyond just speeding. Those are the places (elementary schools and high schools) where we don't want to have accidents."

But Soon hopes a compromise can be reached between the board and the city.

"I am assuming that whatever issues the Neighborhood Board has, it can be worked out."

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