Letter for Tuesday, March 19, 2019

More roads are ultimately the only solution to traffic

For those who keep insisting that using more buses, bikes, and walking are the solution to alleviating our traffic problems, let’s review some facts.

There are 72,159 residents on Kauai (latest census figures) and there are 70,947 registered vehicles. Take away those who cannot drive and it means that many families have two and three vehicles. Plus the visitors that come to Kauai and rent cars.

None of these people are going to give up their vehicle to use a bike, bus or walk. And not enough to make a dent in the traffic. They need that vehicle for going to work, using it for work or just having it for convenience to come and go as they please.

When citizens live in areas where a bus stop is three or four miles away (or more) do you think that they are going to bike or walk to that bus stop?

Think of the time involved and if the purpose was for grocery shopping? And the rental car people (the majority of them) will use their vehicle for the same purpose, to see the beauty of this island when they want to and not wait for a bus that is going to one location.

The Wall Street Journal said this about vehicles: “Last year about 76 percent of workers 16 and older drove to work alone — near the all time high of 77 percent in 2005. Just about every other way of commuting has either languished or declined. “Other means” includes biking which stands at 2 percent largely unchanged over the last decade.”

You don’t have to be a transportation expert to see the empty bike lanes besides you while you sit bumper to bumper crawling to work — those lanes, narrowing the roads, making traffic worse.

Hopefully our new council and mayor will get action started to first. Pave those cane haul roads (as was done with the Kapaa bypass — in nine months) and then add one more lane, both being the only way to alleviate traffic, not more buses, bikes or walking.

Glenn Mickens, Kapaa

  1. tunataxi March 19, 2019 7:55 am Reply

    Pave and open the road from Puhi through the tunnel in black mountain. Make it an easterly flow only in the morning and westerly again in the afternoon. Create a scenic route from Koloa to Hanapepe in the old cane road we used for all those years back in the 80’s

  2. Rick Bundschuh March 19, 2019 8:41 am Reply

    Glenn, you are dead on. The problem is that the main highway is a State road and the local government can’t do a whole lot to solve that problem. But what can be done is exactly what you suggest, alternative feeder roads that create streams of traffic off the main road. For example by paving an old cane road at Numila the current traffic congestion thru Kalaheo could be eased for those coming or going west from Koloa or Poipu (mostly tourists and hotel industry workers). No doubt other such examples can be found in every community.

  3. gordon oswald March 19, 2019 8:59 am Reply

    Is a “fix” for anything positive if it is a fact that in a few short years the exact same problem will rear it’s ugly head again? The more roads built, the more homes, shopping centers, businesses etc. will locate and expand along those roads creating the same, or worse, congestion we have now. A few cycles of this and we become Maui. A score of cycles like this and we become Honolulu/Oahu. A few hundred cycles like this and we become Los Angeles! The “more traffic, build more roads” mirage is absolute. At what point do we congest Kauai until she loses her beauty, pollution kills her soul, and crime destroys her freedom? The alternative of “no more roads”, and just widening/repairing the ones we have, does indeed cause land and home values to rise forcing some of us to move to cheaper locations where they have roads galore. But keep in mind, every major US city has traffic congestion much more onerous and polluting than Kauai does! The bottom line is we have a dilemma. I vote repair and work with the roads we have and keep Kauai – Kauai. Traffic and all!

  4. Craig Millett March 19, 2019 9:52 am Reply

    Dear Glenn,
    Here you go yet again on your old hobby horse for more roads, more paving paradise and therefore more vehicles. Perhaps you should just go ahead and move to Oahu because that is what will surely happen to Kauai if you get to have it your way here.

  5. manongindashadow March 19, 2019 12:22 pm Reply

    Gordon and Craig. I agree with Glenn, “we need more alternative of travel!” Especially when there is a scene of a major accident. We have to wait for hours before the road open while KPD is investigating. It’s hot, no water, and no bathroom/rest stop.

    Here’s a solution, build the roads that is needed and keep the land around it for agriculture and farming only. Businesses not allowed!

  6. manongindashadow March 19, 2019 12:28 pm Reply

    Gordon and Craig. I agree with Glen that we need more alternative roads. Due to the fact, when there is a major accident. We have to wait for hours in the long line of vehicles with no water and no restrooms.
    Build/ open cane haul roads and leave the zoning around it for agriculture. “No businesses and hosing development allowed!

  7. numilalocal March 19, 2019 2:00 pm Reply

    Glenn, maybe you’re just an older person and completely tied to individual cars being the only means of transportation. Maybe it’s just time to let younger people weigh in with reasonable alternatives? Traffic has increased because of more visitors renting cars AND hoardes of people moving here. To wit, 40 years ago, when the resident population wasn’t what it is now, we didn’t have this kind of gridlock. People who move here should be the last ones complaining about traffic congestion.

  8. steve March 19, 2019 2:05 pm Reply

    I don’t always agree with Glen but he’s on the right track here. Overcrowding must be controlled by limiting development–not by punishing those who live here and our economy with excruciatingly inefficient and unsafe roads. They are appalling and wasteful– inexcusable when you consider most roads are flanked by empty former cane fields, and the island is already criss-crossed with cane haul roads. Mounting numbers of accidents and fatalities alone should force the conversation about two-lane divided highways between towns, not to mention the need for emergency vehicles to get thru, and the idiotic re-routing and delays that occur with a common fender bender. And yes I know they’re state roads but action will start with grass roots pressure and leadership from our elected officials. No we don’t want to become Maui, but that IS how they got to two lanes, and to use their over-development as an excuse to keep our roads inefficient and dangerous is basically throwing in the towel and saying we can’t do it right. That’s like saying you’d rather stay sick and not seek a cure because you’ll just get sick again.

  9. Dt March 19, 2019 8:02 pm Reply

    Hmm, let me see if I have this right, all those people against making more roads are against progress. Let’s take things backwards. Get rid of the roads and force everyone to use horses, bicycles or walk. That way less people will want to live here. Get rid of planes, boats, gas stations, internet, clean water, etc. Ah, much better now, just like the good old days of the 1800s.

  10. Charlie Chimknee March 19, 2019 10:41 pm Reply

    Aloha Kakou,

    Once upon a time one car went to the north shore in the morning and the same car came back in the afternoon. That was it…no traffic…!

    Then it got worse…that was on Oahu…circa…? Well there’s no one alive who can remember when.

    Fast forward to the early 60’s, as in the 1960’s, and it was the same story, 1 car sometimes drove from Kapa’a to Hanalei…same car later on return. 1 same car some days, no traffic, no problem. We seen it happen sittin in the porch at Papa’a.

    Oahu 600 sq. mi. big.

    Kaua’i 552 sq. mi. not so big. Get the picture…what’s coming is around the bend.

    But Same roads, no more traffic problem…how’s that you say…think outside the junk food, alcohol, tobacco, and drugs licit or illicit you are on…it is state so forget the 7 Dwarfs and our Chief…let’s look to Jimmie, Dee, and Nadine…are they in hiding, the main roads are State and so are they.

    There is complaint the senior police are getting the over time to Jack-up their retirement salary. CURE: offer them traffic control service at each traffic light intersection island wide moving vehicles NON-STOP IN 100 vehicle CAR TRAINS.

    The younger police with lots family bills will jump at the chance to help alleviate traffic serving the public, their families, friends, and visitors aIike.

    AFTER 100 vehicles pass at speed limit, open the intersections to drain the waiting cross traffic. Then start the next 100 Car Train…”Casey Jones you better watch your…”

    And it’s part time not 8 hours of traffic. Just like the Tradewinds let the traffic blow on down the road.

    Same roads but just better efficient flow…and it’s not 24/7 yet, it’s mostly afternoon, but whenever it is, let the senior or junior police step in and serve us in an efficient and much needed manner. And it beats the boredom of police driving around with not much to do.

    If the Kaua’i County police can stop traffic for an accident investigation, why not for traffic movement to save citizen gas, time, frustration, and don’t miss your flight out.

    If cannot use Kaua’i Police, then use the State’s Sherrif’s Dept…or the State National Guard, after all it is a blimey island emergency, by cracky…!



  11. Common sense March 21, 2019 3:16 am Reply

    No one rides their bike to work unless their job is very close by. The roads are damgerous, steep, and it is HOT! Kauai’s leadership has cared more about “Going green” and appeasing a liberal base than actually solving problems. The bike path is for leisure and not commuting. Wise up And do something like Glen said. Vote in less politicians and more leaders!!

  12. Reality March 21, 2019 3:18 am Reply

    No one rides their bike to work unless their job is very close by. The roads are damgerous, steep, and it is HOT! Kauai’s leadership has cared more about “Going green” and appeasing a liberal base than actually solving problems. The bike path is for leisure and not commuting. Wise up And do something like Glen said. Vote in less politicians and more leaders!!

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