Kokua Line

By June Watanabe

Keolu Drive medians
made more visible

Question: Last year, the city placed two concrete median strips on four-lane Keolu Drive, encircling Enchanted Lake.

One strip is in front of St. John Vianney School and Church, and the other is in front of Enchanted Lake Park and Elementary School. While they were installed to make it safer for kids, it has made it more dangerous for drivers.

First, the median strips are the same height as the curb and there are no trees, signs or bushes in the strips, making it difficult to see them, particularly at night. I've spoken to city officials and they've agreed. So they put some orange rubber poles there. Periodically, they disappear. The city, three or four months ago, said they plan on doing something, but nothing happened.

Second, because of these strips, the normal four lanes are now two lanes. This has created a dangerous situation since cars that used to park safely continue to do so, but now end up parking in what were the outside lanes. On weekends, it's very congested because of church services and park use. You're driving in the outside lane and then suddenly the lane disappears. The city also acknowledges this has been a problem, but again, it's been more than a year.

Can you please find out what is being done to alleviate this dangerous situation?

Answer: Shortly after we contacted the city Department of Transportation Services about your concerns, DTS painted and installed additional directional signs in the area, said deputy director Keoki Miyamoto.

Workers also striped the roadway, so motorists are directed away from the medians.

Additionally, the Department of Parks and Recreation is looking at landscaping the strips to make them both visible and more attractive, Miyamoto said.

However, no change is planned for the parking situation. Traffic officials apparently don't believe they are endangering motorists, but are doing what they were built to do.

They are "traffic calming" devices, Miyamoto said, "meant to slow down traffic and make it much safer for pedestrians."

Q: A friend of mine who lives in Kaimuki is curious to know why the speed limit on the H-1 freeway drops from 50 mph to 45 mph near the University of Hawaii.

There doesn't seem to be any major curves in the road or limited view of the road that would justify a drop in the speed limit. The 45 mph limit is for such a short span of the freeway, then it goes back to 50 mph again.

We know of some people who have gotten speeding tickets in this area and were just curious about the history.

A: The lower speed limit was set because the length of the ramps in that area is not "appropriate" for 50 mph, according to Reed Matsuo of the state Department of Transportation's Traffic Branch.

The lengths of the on- and offramps near the university interchange do not meet the requirements for vehicle acceleration and deceleration, he said.

"If the ramp(s) were longer, (they) would allow motorists to adequately merge into or exit from the freeway at a higher speed," he said.

Got a question or complaint?
Call 529-4773, fax 529-4750, or write to Kokua Line,
Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., No. 7-210,
Honolulu 96813. As many as possible will be answered.
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