Looking ahead

  • Dennis Fujimoto/The Garden Island

    Visitors to Kalapaki Beach get photos against the New Year sand sculpture created by Jeff Haigh, Monday. Haigh said he completed the piece Sunday, and despite it being rained on, was attracting a good share of visitors. Haigh said the sculpture extends wishes of strength, wisdom, health through agriculture, and well-being through the sea by way of the four gods — Ku, Kane, Lono, and Kanaloa — represented in the sculpture.

LIHUE — “You folks haven’t fixed the traffic, yet,” said a visitor, Ken Van Gaver, Saturday at the Kauai Community Market at the Kauai Community College. “It’s not just for us visitors, it’s for your businesses.”

The unsolicited comment set the tone for some of the issues facing Kauai in 2019 as the island recovers from its holiday mode and gets down to business.

“There needs to be more four-lane segments so traffic can flow,” Van Gaver offered. “I see a lot of business trucks who just have to sit in the line like the rest of us. And, the bike path in Kapaa? It needs to be extended to Nawiliwili.”

Matthew Kawamura of Lihue agreed that traffic is a major concern for residents.

“I don’t know about issues,” Kawamura said. “But traffic? Yes, especially through Kapaa and at the Kauai Community College section.”

And there are other areas, like in Kalaheo and the eastbound traffic from the Westside, and occasionally, through the main thoroughfare in Hanapepe.

Kelsi Ogata, of Kapaa, said she thought traffic has gotten worse, not better.

“I”m the wrongest person to ask about issues,” Ogata said. “But traffic has got to be the number one problem here. In Kapaa, it has gotten worse. It’s not like before when there was traffic only at certain times of the day. Now, it’s always!”

Ogata said with Derek Kawakami as the new mayor, she is hoping something will be done.

“This is a tough one,” Kawamura said. “Maybe they need to put in a really big roundabout to keep traffic moving and slowing it down so it’s safer.”

Jet Levinthol of Kapaa said something needs to be done about the traffic.

“Traffic is a problem,” Levinthol said. “Something needs to be done because whatever has been done is not enough. Maybe we can open up some of the cane roads. We need to make another highway.”

Z. Zumwalt of Wailua said traffic doesn’t hurt people.

“I’m going to catch some heat for that,” Zumwalt said. “But it’s true — traffic doesn’t hurt people. There are bigger issues, like we need to rebuild the North Shore. I go out there with Mr. T’s to work on pest control, and conditions are terrible out there — especially for people who are in the convoys.”

Zumwalt, who recently opened The Flip Flop Shop at the Kukui Grove Center, said Hanalei was one of the areas they were looking at opening.

“We know a guy who lives in the area accessible through the convoys,” Zumwalt said. “Once, he missed the time and spent hours waiting in Princeville. It’s terribly inconvenient. If we had opened in Hanalei at the same time we did at Kukui Grove, the rains and floods came 12 days later. Where would we be today?”

Debra Lucas of Puhi, a retired business manager, said all she knows about she gets through the news.

“Affordable housing,” she said. “That has to be the top concern facing the island — housing that is in keeping with the wages available on the island.”

One of the items on her hope list is work done to Morgan’s Ponds at Lydgate Park.

“That’s one of my favorite places,” Lucas said. “There’s just one small area that’s left that’s deep. The rest of the areas were filled in from the storms. I’d like to see the Morgan’s Ponds re-dredged so there are the deep areas, again. And, the sea wall? I’d like to see that built up again.”

  1. kimo January 1, 2019 7:50 am Reply

    My new years resolution – I will not vote for any Kauai incumbent politician until the island wide traffic problems are fixed.

  2. Charlie Chimknee January 1, 2019 9:05 am Reply

    Aloha Kakou,

    This could be done tomorrow and the traffic problem could be over in 1 day or a few to practice and take out the “glitches.”

    100 car long CAR TRAINS. From Kapa’a ABC Store stop light to Lihue’s “T” intersection where the “main line” meets Rice Street.

    Traffic monitors, or timed lights, flag men, whatever, have 100 cars in a train keep going all the way from Kapa’a to Lihue. All shopping center, business, and driveways all shut down for less than 5 minutes while the “Train” is passing by. No exiting from anywhere onto Kuhio Hwy in either direction. Just let the Train run by with 100 cars in a close line at speed limit no interruptions. OK to turn Right off of Kuhio Hwy., but get out of the way not car “waddle” of the Highway.

    If you want to enter and turn either direction ONTO Kuhio Hwy you wait for the 100 Car Train to pass, no interrupting the TRAIN, just like a real train with all cars hooked together.

    If you want to turn left off of the Kuhio Hwy you wait in the stacking lanes, no cutting across the oncoming TRAIN.

    Not enough room in the stacking lane you go forward to the next AVAILABLE left turn and come back to your turn off with a right turn.

    100 stalled cars is the distance from Houselots light to Safeway light. Rolling Rolling Rolling, keep them Car Trains Rolling, Captain Kawakami…! ! !

    When All the intersections get the RED LIGHT at the same time to enter and exit shopping Centers, business and residences or side road intersection…get on it…NO DELAY…!

    The cost is the use of a Policeman who is otherwise Stuck in Traffic anyway.

    The Wailua River / Coco Palm’s northbound Makai lane should be open 24/7 and pedestrians routed by foot under the bridge to the beach.

    It don’t take a miracle, it takes a BRAIN to make a CAR TRAIN…

    What we hire these guys for anyway..just to wait…NOT…!

    Make a TRAIN, and make it a 100, while you’re at it….!

    Fix KAPA’A-LIHUE, the rest will,fix themselves…!



  3. Craig Millett January 1, 2019 9:29 am Reply

    Those who want to handle traffic problems on Kauai need to first look beyond today and anticipate the much greater problems for roads in ten or twenty years when the sea level is much higher than now. All roads within several meters of current high tide are likely to be unusable. This is a looming global problem and only those who start planning for it now will have functional ground transportation.

  4. Claudia Cowden January 1, 2019 5:03 pm Reply

    I like Charlie’s idea

  5. Larry January 2, 2019 7:38 pm Reply

    We all need to call our new mayor and put the pressure on. Charlie’s idea is epic.

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