Transportation system critical to Kauai’s future

Editor’s note: The following commentary was also sent to the Kauai County Council.

I have lived on Kauai for 45 years, and 50 in Hawaii. The rapid proliferation of vehicles, increased reckless driving (as a direct result of drugs, youth, and impatience at traffic congestion) and pedestrian accidents leads to only one conclusion. More cars are not the solution. There is no way we can grow our county resources fast enough to maintain our infrastructure. We cannot pave fast enough to meet demands.

We need to plan for the future as well as meet the current exploding need for an expanded bus and multimodal services. We cannot kick the can down the roads that do not exist. Nor do we want Kauai paved from end to end.

As a women’s health nurse practitioner for more than 20 years, I have listened to women and their needs. Lack of safe transportation, or access to any transportation puts women at increased risk for domestic violence, sexual assault, and economic hardship.

So many women are trapped in dangerous situations, or simply stuck, no way out of bad relationships, poor housing, or access to jobs or health services. Do you have any idea how many women cannot get to a clinic because of no transportation? How many elderly are utterly dependent on people who can’t help them, because they work? How many cannot pursue education, because, they can’t get there in a timely manner?

Women represent half your community and your constituents. If we do not meet their needs we have lost 50 percent of the battle. Curbing poverty, drugs, and violence starts with the ability to move safely around the community to better work and living situations.

If we handicap women before they can even get out of the house, we are condemning them to hardship. We are the ones who are agreeing to leave them there.

•••

Virginia Beck is a resident of Lawai.

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