Neighborhood board members have asked the city to extend the trial period of a temporary roundabout at the intersection of Ala Napunani and Likini streets to the end of August.

Salt Lake
roundabout draws
mixed reaction

Some say it is a traffic hazard,
while others say it aids pedestrians

Salt Lake resident Brent Matsumoto said he had at least three close calls while driving through a temporary roundabout traffic control device near Moanalua High School.

"I'm talking about a matter of inches," said Matsumoto of nearly being struck by another vehicle. "It sucks ... It's a matter of time before something happens."

But Moanalua High School Principal Darrel Galera says he supports the roundabout the city installed at the intersection of Ala Napunani and Likini streets because it slows drivers down and makes it safer for students to cross the street.

"It's been a benefit," he said.

City Transportation Director Cheryl Soon said the city spent $50,000 to install the temporary roundabout in April. A permanent roundabout will cost an estimated $570,000 and take three months to build.

The city is evaluating traffic, speed and accidents and took comments from residents for three months on the roundabout. The information will be presented to the Aliamanu/Salt Lake/Foster Village Neighborhood Board on Sept. 11 at 7 p.m. in the Aliamanu Intermediate School cafeteria.


Neighborhood board members have asked the city to extend the trial period to the end of August to evaluate the roundabout during heavier traffic.

Soon said between April and July, the number of traffic-related accidents at or near the intersection dropped compared with the same period in each of the last three years.

Howard Shima, chairman of the board's transportation committee, said he does not support the installation of a permanent roundabout because it doesn't address the safety of students who cross Ala Napunani at Ala Ilima Street rather than Likini.

"We still have not eliminated the traffic hazard, which is at Ala Ilima," said Shima.

For nearly three decades, community members have been trying to provide an increased level of safety for pedestrians, said Galera.

Charettes were held three years ago to address the speeding problem on Ala Napunani Street. City transportation officials originally recommended a roundabout to be installed at two intersections on the roadway, but it was determined that firetrucks at the Moanalua Fire Station would not be able to maneuver around the device at Ala Ilima Street because of the steep grade, Shima said.

An island at the intersection of Ala Napunani and Ala Ilima streets was installed so pedestrians can stop midway at the "safety zone" before continuing to cross the wide roadway.

But Shima said, "It doesn't make it substantially safe for the island to be there."

"I watched the kids cross. ... A lot of them don't watch. A lot of them just amble across."

He recommended the city to research the installation of a traffic light at the intersection. Shima also recommended that the light be synchronized with the traffic light on Salt Lake Boulevard. State Rep. Glenn Wakai (D, Moanalua Valley-Salt Lake) said he has received calls from some residents that said the roundabout slows down traffic and provides additional safety for pedestrians. But some have said those who don't know how to drive around a roundabout create a safety hazard and believe it's a cumbersome feature on the roadway.

It will take some time for area residents to adapt to the roundabout, Wakai said.


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