City and State Answer Questions about Kalanianaole Hwy.

Even before the Kalanianaole Hwy. repaving project started, questions were brought up about crosswalks, streetlights and signal timing.  Since most of the job is done, concerns have been brought up about the contra-flow lane and the new yellow striping in the Koko Head bound lanes.

Several agencies handle different aspects of the roadway, so it was refreshing to see Ford Fuchigami, Director of the Hawaii Department of Transportation (DOT), Mike Formby, Director of the Honolulu Department of Transportation Services and Ross Sasamura, Director of the Honolulu Department of Facility Maintenance, at the October 1 meeting of the Kuliouou Neighborhood Board.  They were prepared to respond to community questions.

Signal Timing

The city is planning to do three pilot projects using Adaptive Signal Control Technology, and Kalanianaole Hwy. is one of the corridors where this technology will be implemented (after formal approval is received from the DOT).  This technology uses real-time traffic information to determine which lights should be green.  This sounds like a great idea, but it’ll be important for us to monitor once it’s installed.


The city is also looking at its crosswalk policy, especially in light of the number of pedestrians who have been killed while in mid-block crosswalks.  Guidelines are regularly updated, but old crosswalks are grandfathered in and rarely removed.  Kalanianaole Hwy. in east Honolulu has several mid-block crosswalks, but only one that has a separate signal.  Some mid-block crosswalks may be eliminated in the future.

Contra-flow Lane

There were a couple of incidents of motorists driving the wrong way in the Koko Head-bound lanes, because the contra-flow lane hadn’t been set up.  To provide motorists with advance notice of the status of the lane, a new sign with a beacon will be installed, most likely at the intersection of East Halemaumau.

In addition, the regular sign posts in the lane itself are being used again.  During road repaving, the metal sleeves that allowed signs to be put up were removed, and cones were used all the way down the contra-flow lane.  One of the tradeoffs of roadwork is that it does take a while to reinstall things like the sleeves, sensor loops and pavement markings.

And those yellow lines? They’ll likely remain, as they are now part of federal guidelines.

LED Streetlighting

Ford Fuchigami announced that the state is going to be replacing its streetlights with LEDs.  Some members of the board expressed concerns about the potential brightness of the lights.  Ford reassured the board that the state is following Dark Sky guidelines.  The planned lights will be 4,000 Kelvin, which is the same as the city, but the state is also including smart controls, which would allow the lights to be dimmed.  (This is something the city’s plan does not include.).  I have asked for a copy of the state’s plan.

Recycled Glass

Did you ever wonder why we don’t use recycled glass in our asphalt?  I have, and now I know why it’s not used more often.  According to Ross Sasamura, the city used recycled glass on a driveway for the Waipio Soccer Park. It’s reflective and could cause confusion with road markings.  When roads are reconstructed, two layers of asphalt are used.  I would think that recycled glass could be used for the bottom layer, without any negative impact.  I’m following up with the city on this.  In the meantime, tumbled glass can be used in some landscaping settings and looks quite nice.

Project Errors

One thing that was not brought up at the meeting but I wanted to share anyway is the right-turn-only-lane in front of Roy’s Restaurant at Keahole Street.  There is currently a solid white line separating the lane from the regular town-bound lane.  Motorists are only supposed to cross solid white lines in emergency or unusual situations, so technically people shouldn’t be turning right there.  The state has been notified of the error and will correct it.  I wonder, however, how such a mistake was allowed to apparently pass through planning reviews and then actual installation on the roadway.  Didn’t anyone think to ask why it was solid the entire length?

All in all, I was pleased with the responses provided during the meeting.  The key now is to make sure “the talk” is followed by “the do.”