Second Round of Public Informational Meetings Scheduled for Statewide Transportation Improvement Program

The Hawaii Department of Transportation will be holding its second round of statewide public informational meetings to discuss the fiscally constrained draft of the Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (STIP) for Fiscal Years 2015-2018 (+2). The STIP is a four-year plan that identifies state and county transportation projects to be funded, in part, with Federal Highway and Transit Funds.

Round a Bout

Fiscal constraint of the new STIP was done using technical information from management systems, project schedules and readiness information, and coordination with relevant public agencies and the public. Survey results gathered from the first round of public meetings will be shared, along with information about next steps.

Meetings for the island of Oahu are being scheduled by the Oahu Metropolitan Planning Organization. For more information, please visit the OahuMPO website at: http://www.oahumpo.org/plans-and-programs/transportation-improvement-program-tip/

Upcoming public meetings on neighbor islands are scheduled as follows:

Pahoa, Hawaii
Monday, July 28, 2014, 6 PM
Pahoa Community Center
15-2910 Puna Road
Pahoa, Hawaii 96778

Hilo, Hawaii
Tuesday, July 29, 2014, 6 PM
Hilo State Office Building Conference Rooms A, B, & C
75 Aupuni Street
Hilo, Hawaii 96720

Kamuela, Hawaii
Wednesday, July 30, 2014, 6 PM
Waimea Civic Center, State Office Building Conference Room
67-5189 Kamamalu Street
Kamuela, Hawaii 96743

Kailua-Kona, Hawaii
Thursday, July 31, 2014, 6 PM
Kealakehe Intermediate School Cafeteria
74-5062 Onipaa Street
Kailua-Kona, Hawaii 96740

 Kula, Maui
Monday, August 4, 2014, 6 PM
King Kekaulike High School Cafeteria
121 Kula Highway
Pukalani, Hawaii 96768

 Kihei, Maui
Tuesday, August 5, 2014, 6 PM
Kihei Elementary School Cafeteria
250 E. Lipoa Street
Kihei, Hawaii 96753

Lahaina, Maui
Wednesday, August 6, 2014, 6 PM
West Maui Senior Center Cafeteria
788 Pauoa Street
Lahaina, Hawaii 96761

 Kahului, Maui
Thursday, August 7, 2014, 6 PM
Maui District Office Conference Room
650 Palapala Drive
Kahului, Hawaii 96732

More information on the fiscally constrained DRAFT Fiscal Years 2015-2018 (+2) STIP, can be found at http://hidot.hawaii.gov/highways/stip-fiscal-years-2015-2018-2-development-information/

Comments may also be submitted by August 15, 2014 through E-mail, mail, or FAX to:

E-mail Address: Hwy.Stip.Projects@hawaii.gov

Mailing Address: Highway Planning Branch

869 Punchbowl Street, Room 301

Honolulu, Hawaii 96813

Phone: (808) 587-6355

FAX: (808) 587-1787

To request language interpretation, an auxiliary aid or service (i.e., sign language interpreter, accessible parking, or materials in alternative format), contact Tracy Ho at (808) 587-1831 fourteen (14) days prior to the meeting date, if possible. TTY users may use TRS to contact HDOT at 808-587-2210.

More STIP information can also be found at the following web address:

http://hidot.hawaii.gov/highways/other/other-related-links/stip/general-stip-information/

Big Island Police Investigating Stun Guns Recovered From Maku’u Farmers Market

Hawaiʻi Island police recovered two electronic stun devices from a vendor at the Makuʻu Farmers Market on Sunday morning (June 29) and have initiated a criminal investigation into violations of laws specific to electric guns, possession and sale.

HPDBadgeDevices that were recovered had the appearance of a cellular phone. Police received additional information that other devices previously displayed had the appearance of a Maglight type flashlight.

Police remind the public that the possession, sale, gift or delivery of electric guns/devices is illegal under section 134-16 of the Hawaiʻi Revised Statutes and is a misdemeanor offense. The definition of an “electric gun” means any portable device that is electrically operated to project a missile or electromotive force. Persons who may have purchased such a device are advised to destroy the item or turn it in to the nearest police station for recovery and destruction.

Use of an electronic gun on another person (by anyone other than a law enforcement officer in the lawful course of duties) would fall under the assault section of the Hawaiʻi Revised Statutes.

Police ask anyone with information about other vendors selling similar devices to report this to the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 935-3311.

Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call the islandwide Crime Stoppers number at 961-8300 and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000. Crime Stoppers is a volunteer program run by ordinary citizens who want to keep their community safe. Crime Stoppers doesn’t record calls or subscribe to caller ID. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.

Yes… That Was Me in Today’s Wreck at Malama Market Intersection

Today at about 10:30 my cousin and I were driving back home after dropping my wife’s car off at Kolohe Auto Repair when we got in an accident at the Malama Market intersection on Highway 130 here in Pahoa.

View from inside the car right after the wreck.

View from inside the car right after the wreck.  I tried to get out of the car but was too stunned to even move and my neck and back hurt so felt it was best to just stay put.

I was the passenger in a 2009 Scion that took the brunt of the impact.  Simply put… what happened shouldn’t have happened had the driver we hit was paying attention.

We were driving towards Kalapana on Highway 130 and the driver of a Jeep Wrangler was driving towards town direction.  He moved into the left turn lane at the Malama Market intersection and came to a stop.

As we were going at the speed limit recommended for the area of 45 MPH… right as we got to the intersection… the Jeep Wrangler decided that he was going to take a left turn in to the Malama Market area.

The driver of the car I was in… slammed on her brakes but it was too late and we slammed into the car.

I spent all day in the hospital getting everything from Cat Scans to X-Rays while the whole day my neck was in some sort of collar to keep me from moving it.

I’m now happy to report that I’m back home with the diagnosis of serious whiplash and I have a nice gash down the shin of my left leg.

Highway 130 and this Malama Market intersection have been one of the most dangerous ones in the State and today it proved itself to me personally.

The State KNOWS there is a problem with this intersection yet accidents continue to happen there almost daily.  People have lost limbs, lost cars, broken bones and still yet nothing has been done.

There is plans to install a round-a-bout at this intersection in the next few months… I’m not sure how that will work in the long run.
pahoa roundMore posts related to accidents on Highway 130 can be found here:  Highway 130

Commentary – A Giant Tree Almost Killed Me Last Night on HWY 132

I received the following commentary:

Dear Damon,

I really had a close call last night.

Tree Smash

Was driving down on my way home in Kapoho through the tree tunnel by Lava Tree state park. I heard a thunderous crack and saw for a split second a giant branch on it way down directly in front of me…not sure if I hit it first or it hit the road first but I hit it hard.

Tree Smash 2

Airbags went off and smoke filled the cabin…when I came to I was choking from the airbag smoke I got out from the car, dazed. The occupants from the car behind me asked if I was OK and said that they saw the tree come down and I was lucky to be alive…Police said I was lucky to be alive as well.

The force was enough to crack the block on the engine and spray oil and engine parts on the road.

Tree Smash 3I drive through that tree tunnel of old junk albizias every day… So do my loved ones and friends. Almost every local resident has a story of branches of all sizes down in the road and near misses.

I ask why does the county allow such a persistent and inevitable threat to exist? All one has to do is look up at the mass of giant tangled limbs and it not hard to see the gravity of the situation.

Who’s next? Will they be lucky like me? Only sore, bruised and shaken or will they be more gravely injured? 

I am a farmer by trade and don’t think I will be picking up any baskets of ginger for a while.

I will be writing letters to the County of Hawaii public works, road maintenance division as well as our council members asking the same questions above.

Tree Smash 4

In a perfect world my sincere story would be enough to get them moving to take care of this obvious problem, however If you would like to share my story on your blog it may help shine a light on this issue.

Thank you kindly,

Daniel Kelly

Commentary – Young and Sober Club First Meeting Pushed Back… Hit By Drunk Driver on Way to Meeting

I would like to announce the first meeting of the Young and Sober Club will be Saturday, May 3, at 3PM at Panaewa Zoo. This group is a social gathering of people ages 16-30 who are drug, alcohol and tobacco free. With all the focus on legalizing marijuana, people forget that you don’t need to be stoned to have fun. The Young and Sober Club is designed to give young people a choice.

This is the second time we are having a first meeting of the club. The last time we were going to meet, a couple of weeks ago, I was hit by a drunk driver at the Pahoa traffic light intersection. How’s that for ironies! Hit by a drunk driver on the way to a Young and Sober Club meeting!

Fortunately, nobody in my car was hurt, although there is more than $10,000 damage to my car. The drunk driver was arrested for DUI and his drunk passenger was sent to the hospital.

At first, our social club was to be for people 18-30 who want to meet other sober friends and have social gatherings where you aren’t having to say no to offers of alcohol, weed, or worse. Growing up in Hawaii is a challenge for someone who is drug and alcohol free. You can smell weed as you pass cars or go to the beach. It’s everywhere, and the pressure to use it is high. Young people need to have healthy ways of having fun, too, and meet other young people who are sober.

But we decided to lower the age to 16 since that’s the age when people start driving. Auto accidents are the number one killer of young people. And the recent accident I just had is a reminder that being sober is not only a personal decision. It affects everyone you come in contact with, especially on the road. (By the way, the guy who hit me was over 30.) Parents are welcome to attend our meetings.

We plan on meeting at different interesting places each week and do all sorts of activities, depending on the interests of the members. This is a FREE event. So come and check us out at the zoo this Saturday at 3. For more information and to find out about future meetings, call me at 443-4750.

Solomon Singer
Pahoa

Federal-Aid Highways 2035 Transportation Plan for the District of Hawaii

The Statewide Federal-Aid Highways 2035 Transportation Plan is being developed by the Hawaii State Department of Transportation (HDOT). This is the first time that a plan of this type has been prepared statewide. The Plan will provide a basis for making informed land transportation decisions through the year of 2035. This planning effort will embrace the values of the people of Hawaii and identify existing and future needs for the movement of people and goods utilizing all modes of land based transportation.

In conjunction with the development of the statewide Plan, the HDOT is updating the Regional Long-Range Land Transportation Plans for the Distrcits of Maui, Hawaii, and Kauai using a future horizon year of 2035. The new regional long-range plans, titled Federal-Aid Highways 2035 Transportation Plans for the Districts of Maui, Hawaii, and Kauai, were last updated in the late 1990’s. Since then, the State of Hawaii has experienced significant changes in population, development, and travel needs. To ensure a current and comprehensive statewide Plan, the regional Plans are being concurrently updated.

The statewide Plan will incorporate all the updated regional Plans and the Oahu Regional Transportation Plan (ORTP) 2035, which has been developed by the Oahu Metropolitan Planning Organization (OahuMPO) and completed in Spring 2011.

According to the State Integrated Transportation Planning Structure, the statewide Plan is categorized as the “Statewide Modal Plan/Strategy”, with its primary focus to identify long-term statewide program needs, and to set the framework for the regional Plans. The regional Plans are categorized as the “Facility Master Plans”.  Facility Master Plans are implementation plans focusing on the prioritization of programs and commitments.

To learn more about the project, see the plan development process, plan framework and plan stakeholders pages.  And to review long-range plan efforts accomplished, visit to the project materials page.

To participate in upcoming meetings and events, see the Get Involved! page. And to provide thoughts on these plan development efforts, contact us at the comment page.

Highway Plans

Draft Federal-Aid Highways 2035 Transportation Plan for the District of Hawaii

  1. Introduction and Overview
  2. Goals and Objectives
  3. Hawaii’s Transportation Context and Needs
  4. Potential Solutions
  5. Implementation

List of Appendices

26-Year-Old Identified in Highway 130 Fatality

A 26-year-old Hilo man died Sunday (April 6) from injuries he received in a two-vehicle collision on the Keaʻau-Pāhoa Road (Route 130) between the 3- and 4-mile markers in Keaʻau.

HPDBadgeResponding to a 4:31 a.m. call, Puna patrol officers determined that the Hilo man was operating a 2010 Subaru multi-purpose vehicle and traveling west on the Keaʻau-Pāhoa Road when he overtook another vehicle and collided with a 2004 Ford F-350 pickup truck traveling east.

The driver of the Ford pickup truck, a 52-year-old Keaʻau man, was transported to Hilo Medical Center with minor injuries. He was also arrested for suspicion of operating a vehicle under the influence of an intoxicant and was released pending investigation.

Police are also investigating whether the driver of the other vehicle may have been intoxicated and speeding.

Both drivers were wearing their seat belts.

Traffic Enforcement Unit officers have initiated a negligent homicide investigation and have ordered an autopsy to determine the exact cause of death.

He was identified as 26-year-old Matthew S. Therrien of Hilo.

Anyone with information regarding this crash is asked to call Officer Tuckloy Aurello at 961-8119.

This is the fourth traffic fatality on Hawaiʻi Island this year compared with 11 at this time last year.

Ainaloa Boulevard Sidewalks Getting Extended to Highway

New sidewalks are being constructed along both sides of Ainaloa Blvd in Puna.

Ainaloa Way

The sidewalks will connect to Highway 130.

The County of Hawaii, Department of Public Works Highway Maintenance Division is constructing these sidewalks.  They are excavating the roadway shoulders in increments of 500-feet to 1,000-feet, and closing lanes to allow for equipment.  The alternating lane closures are Monday-Friday 8:00 – 2:00 PM.  Sidewalk completion is scheduled for mid-April 2014 weather permitting.

Today at the Hawaii County Council Meeting – Re: VOLCANO-PĀHOA Emergency Road Project

Here is what was scheduled to be discussed at today’s Hawaii County Council meeting (note agenda item 4):

Hawaii County Logo

Committee Index ~ March 18, 2014 ~ Kona Council Chambers

9:00 a.m.         GOVERNMENTAL RELATIONS AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEE

1.   Comm. 10.15:       HSAC EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE MEETING MINUTES

2.   Comm. 10.16:       HSAC SPECIAL EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE MEETING MINUTES

9:45 a.m.         AGRICULTURE, WATER and ENERGY SUSTAINABILITY COMMITTEE

3.   Comm. 721:          PRESENTATION BY PETER YOUNG, RE: KEAUHOU AQUIFER SYSTEM

Comm. 721.1: Submit power point presentation materials by Peter Young, from Dru Kanuha

12:45 p.m.       PUBLIC SAFETY and MASS TRANSIT COMMITTEE

4.   Comm. 697:          Discussion and Formation of AD HOC Re: VOLCANO-PĀHOA Emergency Road Project

1:15 p.m.         PLANNING COMMITTEE

5.   Comm. 729:          NOMINATION OF MR. JAY UYEDA TO THE WATER BOARD

6.   Comm. 730:          NOMINATION OF COLLIN KAHOLO TO THE LEEWARD PLANNING COMMISSION

7.   Bill 211:                Re: SLU, AG TO URBAN AT KEONEPOKO, PUNA, Applicant:  Jerry Souza, 1 acre

Bill 212:          REZONE, A-1a to CV-20, Applicant: Jerry Souza, 1 acre

8.   Bill 213:                REZONE, Time Ext., RS-10 to MCX-20 at Waiakea, Applicant: Waterfall Ent., 21,000 sf

9.   Bill 214:                REZONE, RM 2.5 to RM-1.5, at Waiakea, S. Hilo, Applicant: Vincent Tai, 3.2 acres

3:00 p.m.         PUBLIC WORKS and PARKS AND RECREATION COMMITTEE

10.  Bill 200:               RELATING TO 20 MPH Speed Limit, adds Haunani Road, Puna

11.  Bill 201:               RELATING TO SPEED LIMITS, amends provision re portion of Haunani Road, Puna

12.  Bill 202:               RELATING TO MOVING VEHICLES, adds portion of Ka’alaiki Road, Ka’u

13.  Bill 203:               RELATING TO NO PARKING AT ANYTIME, adds portion of West Kawili, S. Hilo

14.  Bill 204:               RELATING TO BUS STOPS AND PUBLIC ROAD TAXI STANDS, portions of Banyan Drive

15.  Bill 205:               RELATING TO PARKING, revises re prohibited parking along Banyan Drive

16.  Bill 206:               RELATING TO PARKING, revises re prohibited parking during certain hours on Banyan Drive 17.  17.  Bill 207:                      RELATING TO FREIGHT LOADING ZONES, revises freight zone locations on Banyan Drive 18.  18.  Bill 217:             RE: PARKS & REC FACILITY, names Honoka‘a stadium, “Rose Andrade Correia Stadium”

3:45 p.m.         FINANCE COMMITTEE

19.  Comm. 3.31:        REPORT OF CHANGE ORDERS AUTHORIZED:  JANUARY 16 – 31, 2014

20.  Comm. 3.32:        REPORT OF CHANGE ORDERS AUTHORIZED:  FEBRUARY 1 – 15, 2014

21.  Comm. 7.24:        REPORT OF FUND TRANSFERS AUTHORIZED:  JANUARY 16 – 31, 2014

22.  Comm. 7.25:        REPORT OF FUND TRANSFERS AUTHORIZED:  FEBRUARY 1 – 15, 2014

23.  Comm. 117.1:      FAIR SHARE ANNUAL REPORT AS OF JUNE 30, 2013           From Duane Kanuha

24.  Comm. 272.3:      Submits Report from TIH Re: Procedures for Clerk and Elections Re: 2012 Primary and Elections

Comm. 272.4: Submits Summary of Findings by TIH from Lane Shibata

25.  Comm. 704:         2013 ANNUAL REPORT OF PONC COMMISSION, Mayor Kenoi

26.  Res. 308-14:         AUTHORIZES PAYMENT for PERSONAL COMPUTERS AND LAPTOPS FOR I.T.

27.  Res. 316-14:         AUTHORIZES PAYMENT FOR INTERNET FIREWALLS FOR I.T.

28.  Res. 318-14:         ACCEPTS DONATION OF PARCEL FOR MANONO STREET from Violet Camara

29.  Res. 329-14:         Authorizes R&D to award funds to HCEOC, $113K for Transmedia Accelerator Program

30.  Res. 330-14:         AUTHORIZES PAYMENT for NEW PHONE SYSTEM FOR Pros. Atty, Hilo Office

31.  Res. 332-14:         AUTHORIZES FINANCE FOR ACQUISITION OF BANYAN TREES PARK, N. Kohala

32.  Bill 181:               RELATING TO THE CODE OF ETHICS

33.  Bill 210:               Re: OP BUDGET, Approp. $70,000 to purchase equipment for terrorism & other hazards.

34.  Bill 215:               RELATING to Appropriation Of Funds to NP Organizations, (property to belong to the NP)

 

Pahoa Round-A-Bout to Cost an Estimated $4.8 Million

The Highway 130 round-a-bout that will be going in soon in Pahoa at the Malama Market intersection went out to bid on March 6th and the bidding ended with Isemoto Construction putting in the lowest bid.

The Planned Pahoa round-a-bout.

The Planned Pahoa round-a-bout

Former blogger Aaron Stene said, “The bid result has to be verified and awarded. Then the HDOT has to give a Notice to Proceed. That’s when the clock starts for Isemoto to begin work. This may take a couple months to work though.”

Nan, Inc. and Jas W. Glover also submitted bids, however Isemoto was the lowest bidder at $4,819,150.00.

Isemoto Bid

State and County Team-Up to Tackle Hazardous Albizia Trees

The State’s Department of Land and Natural Resources, Division of Forestry and Wildlife, and the County of Hawai’i’s Department of Public Works are teaming up February 26-28 to remove invasive albizia trees along Upper Puna Road.

Albizia

State and County crews are working in coordination with the Big Island Invasive Species Committee’s (BIISC) Albizia Demonstration Project in Keau’ohana State Forest Reserve and Black Sands Subdivision, of lower Puna. Albizia trees within 100 ft. of the road, endangering motorists, will be cut down, then chipped and returned to the forest or, for larger trees, removed. BIISC will follow-up by applying herbicide to stumps and nonhazardous trees using methods developed with the University of Hawai’i extension program and the US Forest Service.

By teaming up, crews will be able to cover both County and State right-of-ways and synchronize their efforts. “This project demonstrates how all stakeholders, government, private sector, and residents, can work together to manage the albizia problem in more cost effective ways,” said BIISC Manager Springer Kaye.

The State and County tree work will be done from 8:00am-2:00pm, starting from the intersection of Upper Puna Road and Highway 130, extending 0.3 miles along Upper Puna Road. Motorists are advised to expect intermittent delays on Upper Puna Road during these times and to take the alternate route of One`Ele`Ele Road to access Black Sands Subdivision.

According to Ecologist Flint Hughes, with the U.S. Forest Service, ”Albizia, or Falcataria moluccana, is a statewide ecological and public safety problem. Albizia’s rapid and pervasive growth destroys native forests by shading out native plants and improving conditions other invasive flora, such as strawberry guava. On top of that, the tree’s brittle branches and shallow roots easily break in wind or rain, then fall on homes, roads, and power lines.”

The 500-acre Albizia Demonstration Project area in Puna includes trees overhanging homes and roads, as well as in native lowland forest. Kaye explains “Stakeholders identified this area of Puna as a case study to showcase the wide range of issues in albizia control, develop best management practices, and empower communities to limit the spread of these menacing trees in their own neighborhoods.”

Since December, BIISC has held three Community Training Workshops, where the public learned how to safely and effectively use herbicide to kill albizia trees not threatening infrastructure. The next Community Training Workshops will be held during the Hawai’i Invasive Species Awareness Week, from 9:00am-2:00pm, at various locations in East Hawai’i.

Albizia Clean-ups

For more information on Community Training Workshops, please contact BIISC at 933-3340.

 

Maps of Old Puna Surface Courtesy of Ho’okuleana

The following maps were posted on my Facebook site by Peter Young of  Ho’okuleana LLC after I raised a question about the Old Government Rd. that follows the coastline from Puna into Hilo.

This is a map of 1902 Puna:

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

This is a map of the Puna District of Hawaii from 1875:

Click on image to enlarge

Click on image to enlarge

Highway 130 Claims First Fatality of 2014

A 53-year-old Keaʻau woman died Saturday (January 4) from injuries she sustained in a two-vehicle collision on Route 130 .2 miles south of the Route 139 intersection in Keaʻau.
HPDBadge

Responding to an 8:28 p.m. call, Puna patrol officers determined that the woman was operating a 2001 Mercury four-door sedan and traveling north on Route 130 when she crossed the center median and collided with a 1999 Mercedes Benz multi-purpose vehicle traveling south.

Fire rescue personnel took the driver of the Mercedes, a 56-year-old woman from Keaʻau, and her 23-year-old daughter to Hilo Medical Center.

The driver of the Mercury was pronounced dead at 11:26 p.m. at Hilo Medical Center.

All occupants were wearing their seatbelts.

It does not appear that alcohol or drugs were involved but speed was a factor in the crash.

Traffic Enforcement Unit officers have initiated a negligent homicide investigation and have ordered an autopsy to determine the exact cause of death.

The name of the woman who died is being held pending notification of the next of kin.

Anyone with information regarding this crash is asked to call Officer Casey Cabral at 961-8889.

This is the 1st traffic fatality on the Big Island this year compared with none at the same time last year.

Campaign Bash for Auntie Madie Greene

Campaign Bash

 

New Precinct Added to Second Senatorial District – Polling Place to Return to Pahoa High School

Pahoa High and Intermediate

Senator Ruderman just posted the following on Facebook:

The Hawaii State Office of Elections has added a new precinct within the Second Senatorial District. District 04-02, which has Keonepoko Elementary School as its polling place, will be split.

The new District Precinct will be numbered 04-04. The tentative polling place for this new precinct is Pahoa High School, pending approval from the school.

With the split, District Precinct 04-02 will have approximately 2300 registered voters and District Precinct 04-04 will have approximately 2750 registered voters. The new precinct will serve voters who live makai of Highway 130.

1st Annual “Trunk and Treat” Halloween Party at Maku’u Farmers Market

Raisin’ Cane Sorbet and Juice Company presents the 1st Annual “Trunk and Treat” Halloween Party Thursday at Maku’u Farmers Market.

Halloween 2008

Halloween 2008

Three days to the big event…. $50.00 prize each for Best Costume and Best Decorated Truck. (gate opens at 3pm)

  • LIVE MUSIC
  • GAMES
  • PRIZES
  • OPEN MIC
  • INTERACTIVE ART TABLE
  • BALLOON TWISTING
  • FACE PAINTING

Location:

  • MAKU’U FARMERS MARKET HYW. 130 PAHOA
Transformer - Bumblebee

Halloween 2012

A Trunk or Treat Halloween event is where people gather and park their cars in a large parking lot. They open their trunks, or the backs of their vehicles, and decorate them. Then they pass out treats from their trunks.  The event provides a safe family environment for our keiki.

Costume parade (starts at 7) and contest. $50.00 reward for BEST TRUNK. $50.00 reward for BEST COSTUME.

Proceeds will go into the Maku’u Community Garden fund. All Donations are tax deductible and the gates open at 3pm. All the fun starts as the sun goes down.

For more info call the TRUNK AND TREAT hotline 965-7270

Commentary – “Hawaii Department of Transportation Needs To Do a Better Job In Disseminating Project Information…”

The Hawaii Department of Transportation needs to do a better job in disseminating project information to the public at large. The HDOT public affairs office seems to be understaffed, as it takes awhile to get a response and sometimes the information is not correct.

Saddle Road Extension Map

Saddle Road Extension Map

For example, recent articles about the Daniel K. Inouye Highway project contained inaccurate information concerning total cost, start location of last east side phase among other mistakes. I’ve had to jump through hoops to double check that my information was correct as a result.

The HDOT public affairs office response queue times have also increased. I recently asked when the Kuakini Highway widening EIS meeting would be held. I received a response stating it would take about a week to respond.

These issues started cropping up about mid-year when the CFLHD, HDOT and FHWA referred all my inquiries regarding the Queen Kaahumanu Highway widening and Saddle Road projects to Caroline Slyuter, the HDOT PIO. I had to get any updates through alternative means because it usually took several days or even longer to get any updates through the public affairs office.

The CFLHD and HDOT have websites for the Daniel K. Inouye Highway and Queen Kaahumanuy Highway widening projects. Both of these agencies need to do a better job keeping these websites updated, so the public is informed about these important highway projects. This would be a great first step in properly engaging the public.

Aaron Stene
Kailua-Kona

Highway 130 Shoulder Conversion Project – Clarifications

I posted the following comment on the Facebook group “Bike Commuter of Hilo“:

As a former member of the Keaau Pahoa Advisory Group (KPAG) on Highway 130… I can tell folks that the last drawing I saw on this Highway widening plan that is starting now is supposed to have a Bike lane.

Whether it will have one or not is yet to be seen. I don’t have much confidence that the State really listened to us KPAG Members to well as they are installing the Pahoa Round-a-bout at a location we didn’t want!

The intent of the project is to improve safety and traffic flow by converting the existing T-intersection into a single-lane modern roundabout. Construction work time is estimated at approximately 12 months.

The intent of the project is to improve safety and traffic flow by converting the existing T-intersection into a single-lane modern roundabout. Construction work time is estimated at approximately 12 months.

Doug Zang (not speaking on behalf of the DOT or SSFM) weighed in on my comment and stated the following:

Damon, some clarification is needed. As you know, I was actively involved in that project as well. The DOT has a very complicated and confusing way of implementing and funding the projects along that road, and given how long things take, I can understand the confusion.

The project that is being started this week is the “Shoulder Conversion Project.” It is NOT the same thing as the project you were involved with as a KPAG member. Yes, same highway. Yes, construction. NOT the same project.

The Shoulder Conversion Project is a short-term modification to ONLY the segment of highway between the Humane Society and Shower Drive. The only thing it will do is improve the shoulder on the mauka side of the highway so that people can drive on the mauka shoulder during the PM rush hour much as they drive on the makai shoulder during the AM rush hour today. All other hours of the day, the highway will STILL be only 2 lanes wide, and motorists will NOT be using the shoulder.

In essence, HDOT needs to widen the Waipahoehoe Bridge so that the shoulder extends at a full width across that bridge. (That is the reason the shoulder is not already being used today for that purpose in the afternoon.) So you can think of this as strictly a short-term fix until the full widening of the highway, all the way from Keaau to Pahoa, takes place.

HDOT did a *totally separate* environmental assessment for that shoulder conversion project, and it was always on a timeline ahead of the long-term widening of the highway (which is what you and I were both involved with, and the different environmental assessment that I wrote). The reason for this has to do with getting available funding. It was easier for HDOT to get funding for the shoulder conversion and make things somewhat better in the short-term. KPAG *was* told about that project, repeatedly, and told that THAT project was on a faster timeline than ours. You may not have been around for that discussion as I recall you were not present for probably the last three KPAG meetings.

In the long term, the project that both you and I were involved with WILL INDEED be wider (4 lanes, not two) and have shoulders that WILL serve bicyclists and pedestrians. THAT project, by the way, is still being designed, so it is some time off in the future before that design gets finalized and constructed.

The contact over at the HDOT office in Hilo that is involved with the Shoulder Conversion is named Julann Sonomura. If you call her (feel free to tell her I referred you) she can explain all this to you in greater detail.

Sorry for the novel, everyone, but I felt this needs to be made clear so the public understands. From the standpoint of bicyclists in East Hawaii, the Shoulder Conversion is good news but also not-so-good news. During the PM rush hour, the shoulder heading towards Pahoa will be filled with cars (much as it is in the AM heading the other way), so it will not be a place bicyclists want to be. All the OTHER hours of the day, the shoulder will be much better than now.

Keaau-Pahoa Highway 130 Road Shoulder Lane Conversion Project Starts Monday

The state Department of Transportation advises Hawaii motorists of upcoming lane shifts and temporary closures on Keaau-Pahoa Road (Route 130) between mile post 2.0 and 4.1 beginning on Monday, August 26, from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., for the duration of the Keaau-Pahoa Road Shoulder Lane conversion project.

Beginning of the project

Beginning of the project

The project spans from Keaau Bypass Road to Shower Drive, a total length of 2.31 miles with a project cost of $15 million. Construction includes two 12ft lanes and an 8ft shoulder lane in the inbound direction and one 12ft lane and a 10ft shoulder lane in the outbound direction. These additions will improve traffic and help with congestion upon completion of this project.

During the construction period, the speed limit will be reduced to 35 mph. Motorists are advised to allow for extra travel time.

Your patience is appreciated as the temporary increased traffic and reduced speed limit will pay off with improved traffic flow on Highway 130. For updates on DOT roadwork, please visit http://hidot.hawaii.gov/highways/roadwork/hawaii/

19 Mile March from Pahoa to Hilo to Protect Pohoiki Begins

A three day, 19 mile march, from Pahoa to the Hawaii Electric & Light Company (HELCO) building in Hilo, began today at Pahoa High School on the Big Island.

Planned route

Planned route

The marchers were protesting planned geothermal development in East Hawaii and in particular the area around Pohoiki Beach (Isaac Hale Beach Park).

Pohoiki March
Around 10:00 in the morning folks began registering for the march and preparing themselves for the walk.

Approximately 200 folks marched from Pahoa High School to the Pahoa Shopping Center (Malama Market Intersection) where many of the folks weaned away from the rest of the walk.

Pohoiki March
By about 1:00 a group of about 50 folks had made their way to Ainaloa Boulevard about 4.5 miles into the march.

Pohoiki MarchYou can click on the pictures below to enlarge: